Scarborough man released from jail in Saudi Arabia

A Scarborough resident, his wife and their two children have been released from prison in Saudi Arabia after more than a month.

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Majeed Uddin Ahmed and his wife Zareen were arrested on Sept. 22, 2011 in Jeddah on unknown charges.

The reasons behind the arrest were unclear.

There was speculation the family was put behind bars because of a business deal gone awry with a member of the Saudi royal family.

“There was a raw deal that his [Ahmed’s] father-in-law was working on with one of the Saudi princes and the Saudis just went in and swept the whole family and put them in jail,” Jim Karygiannis, MP for Scarborough-Agincourt, had previously said in an interview.

Another possible reason behind the arrest was due to the family’s visa problems.

Karygiannis said Ahmed had previously applied to sponsor his wife to Canada and was asked to release his work visa in Saudi Arabia.

“He said he needed a couple of days to do this and they [Canadian officials] refused.”

“He did all the right things to bring and sponsor his wife to Canada. Immigration Canada screwed it up and he [got] stuck over there.”

“It has been a very difficult time for the Ahmeds and for their concerned relatives here,” Diane Ablonzcy, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said in the House of Commons on Nov. 1.

She thanked the Saudi government for their co-operation and “addressing our concerns with regard to Canadian citizens.”

The Canadian government is helping the family with travel arrangements and documents, as Ahmed’s wife is an Indian citizen.

The family’s plight was made public by Karygiannis who was contacted by Ahmed’s father-in-law, a longtime Scarborough resident.