PRESS RELEASE: SAUDI ARABIA / Canada / Hajj detention – IHRC receives statement from Dr Al-Atar after his release

Usama al-Atar after release

In particular, we would like to thank all campaigners both inside and outside of Saudi Arabia, as well as all those campaigned with the Canadian authorities.

IHRC is pleased to confirm that Dr Al-Atar is extremely relieved and he has released the following statement, his first since being released:

“Dear all,

“As you are well aware I was falsely arrested and held by Saudi authorities for the best part of the previous 36 hours in what can only be described as horrid conditions.

“I feel deeply relieved and very grateful to be free and reunited with friends.

“First and foremost, I would like to thank God Almighty and the holy Prophet and his divine family for their blessings. Second, I would like to take this opportunity to give a few heartfelt thank you messages to the many organisations and people around the world who helped secure my release, without whom I am sure I would have been charged and imprisoned falsely for many months.

“So my deepest heartfelt thank you to:

“The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), based in London, who campaigned tirelessly on my behalf and ensured that all relevant bodies were made aware of my desperate situation.

“The Canadian media who have been tracking my situation since coming to know, and have made sure my plight was aired, broadcasted and printed for all my fellow Canadians to see.

“My family and many friends and their thousands of messages of support that they have posted on various social media sites and by those people who before this incident didn’t know me.

“As I will be staying in Saudi Arabia and continuing with my Haj (religious pilgrimage), it would not, unfortunately, be sensible nor wise of me to conduct any media interviews. I apologise sincerely but I am sure you will understand why.

“I look forward to returning home to my family in my home town of Edmonton, Canada, by the middle of this month and will be more than willing to share this traumatic experience with all of you.

“Once again thank you all so much, you make me feel proud of being Muslim and honoured to be Canadian.

“God bless you all,

“Dr. Usama Al-Atar”

For more information please contact the Press Office on (+44) 7958522196 or alternatively (+44) 20 8904 4222, email: [ENDS]


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