The story of Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun is remarkable. Her escape from Islam and the domineering clutches of her father and brother was courageous and certainly showed the value of social media.
What is more remarkable is the speed in which the Canadian government acted in getting her to Canada less than five days after she tweeted she wanted refuge in Canada while barricaded in a Thai hotel room. She had been taken from a flight to Australia at the request of the Saudi government.
Her family was pressing to have her return to either Kuwait or Saudi Arabia. Once she was taken from the flight the Thai authorities took her passport and her father and brother flew to Thailand. Things looked dire for her until she took to twitter and pleaded for help.
On Saturday she boarded a flight from Seoul to Toronto where she was met by the Minister of Global Affairs Chrystia Freeland and a horde of media for what can only be described as a crass, political photo op. She was not allowed to take questions as Freeland held onto her.
The questionable logic of broadcasting to the world her whereabouts given her fear of her father and brother is another matter.
Last week, on Tuesday, two Vancouver area police officers trapped in Cuba for the past ten months finally got the news from their lawyer that the prosecutor’s appeal of their acquittal on a bogus charge of rape was turned down. It then began a flurry of activity between the two, their Cuban lawyer, their families and the Cuban government to get their names removed from the ‘no travel’ list so they could get out of that Communist country.
On Saturday they boarded a plane and flew to Calgary then home to Vancouver. To their credit, the police chiefs of Port Moody and Vancouver PD arranged to have them met at the airport and taken to a local hotel where their respective families were staged for a happy and relieved reunion.
None of this happened with any assistance from the Minister’s office. Despite the fact there was no evidence supporting the allegation against them and much evidence to support their version of events, the Minister let them languish for ten months facing a distinct prospect of years in a Cuban jail. The Cuban justice system, such as it is, convicts in over 90% of cases. All Canadian government officials would do was say they were monitoring the situation. Essentially saying their hands were tied.
The Opposition critic for Global Affairs, Erin O’Toole, tried to get the Minister and the Prime Minister’s office to get involved to no avail. Yet, the Minister seems to have moved heaven and Earth to get documents, flights and resources for al-Qunun, a citizen of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia yet did nothing for two Canadian cops.
It’s great that the two police officers are back home. They have had the support of their respective departments and are on a return to work plan. But their troubles may not yet be over.
When the story broke that they were coming back to Canada, the father of the accuser was quoted in a Global News story saying, “We have reached out to the police in Vancouver and they will be conducting a better investigation here where language barriers are not a factor and both sides can be heard.”
“It’s unfortunate my daughter wasn’t present at the trial but we were told she would not be needed, it’s unfortunate that we keep finding out all information from the news and not from the government agency in charge of such matters. We are not done with this yet, and we hoped it would have been dealt with in Cuba.”
Were I him, I’d be careful what he wishes for. His daughter lied in her statement to police. Likely she lied to her family as well. But as much as social media was a saviour for al-Qunun the accuser’s social media trail will not support those lies nor her father’s assertions. Quite the opposite in fact.
As far as she was told she was not needed that is blatant BS. It was in fact, he who said “she was too traumatized” to attend the trial in Cuba.
If, in fact, he has filed a complaint with the Vancouver Police, they will be obligated to forward the matter to the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner. Although, I fail to see what they will achieve. The two officers were in Cuba, on holiday in a resort aimed at young adults. Neither are married nor were they representing their departments. One of them had consensual sex with a girl who came on to him in a poolside bar.
Imagine single young adults hooking up at a resort while on a Caribbean holiday in March? I know shocking right?
Lastly, while the accuser was 17 at the time, she looked older, was being served by staff in a resort bar and was acting like other young adults at the bar. Neither of the officers had any reason to believe she was anything other than what she portrayed.
This has dragged on far too long. It’s time to let the boys get back to doing their jobs protecting the citizens in their respective communities.
Enough is enough.