MONTREAL — Toufik Benhamiche, this tourist québécois held in Cuba since he was involved in a boating accident fatal, in July 2017, was again sentenced to four years in prison.
In a press release issued Wednesday, the man of Mascouche said to have been sentenced after having been subjected to his new trial, on December 10.
M. Benhamiche had been found guilty of criminal negligence, but the verdict was cancelled in June last by the highest court in cuba.
The engineer 48-year-old finds himself in the limbo of the cuban tribunal for the death of another tourist, canadian, during an excursion to Cayo Coco. The man was at the controls of a boat when he lost control.
His boat had deviated from its course and collided with the one on board of which was the victim, Jennifer Ann Marie Innis, a mother of three children originally from Ontario.
Toufik Benhamiche had been convicted a first time for criminal negligence causing death, but that verdict was overturned by the highest court in the country a little earlier this year.
This new verdict of guilt represents a hard blow for the accused and his relatives. They claim since the beginning that Quebec is the victim of a judicial system that seeks at all costs a culprit on which to blame.
“All the facts of the case clearly demonstrate the innocence of my husband and the lack of responsibility in this accident,” said the wife of M. Benhamiche, Kahina Bensaadi, in a telephone interview with The canadian Press.
A demonstration in support of Toufik Benhamiche had been convened in Montreal in early December to seek the intervention of the canadian government and alert the public opinion.
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The lawyers of M. Benhamiche argue that the company that rented the boat had violated the safety standards in cuban had offered him very little direction and had assured him that there was no danger before he takes the helm of the boat.
According to Ms. Bensaadi, a captain of the provincial marine, said during the trial that “the violation of the certificate of navigation of the boat put the boat in overload, has changed the behavior of the boat, and was probably caused by the accident”.
“Strong arguments and solid”
In addition, the cuban authorities would not have performed any expertise on the system to stop the boat following the accident. A expertise had been conducted several months later, and on another boat.
“All the witnesses have clearly given strong arguments and solid, which demonstrate why the accident took place and how the accident took place and it was not the responsibility of my husband,” said the lady, who speaks regularly with her husband stuck in the Caribbean.
In the press release sent to the media, Mr. Benhamiche says he hopes to bring his new conviction on appeal. He is not in prison, but remains confined in cuban soil for at least another year of procedures.
M. Benhamiche and Mrs. Bensaadi multiply the steps to obtain the support of the government of Canada. Last summer, they filed a motion in federal Court to require canadian authorities that they will come to their aid.
Kahina Bensaadi is a direct challenge to the prime minister Justin Trudeau and the minister of foreign Affairs asked by chrystia Freeland. “By their inaction, they give the right to the cuban authorities to abuse the rights of my spouse, and they give the right to the cuban authorities to intimidate my partner by an award that is not based on the laws”, was launched.
By e-mail, global Business Canada confirm to be well aware of the recent verdict in the record of Mr. Benhamiche and ensures offer him consular assistance.
The couple has also filed a lawsuit of $ 340,000 against the tour operator Sunwing Vacations, with whom he did business. The company had already indicated that it would challenge the lawsuit.