Dr. Jared Ord, of Olds, was one of the Canadian Humanitarian members detained last week in Ethiopia. (Photo from Facebook)

Charity says Canadian humanitarians detained in Ethiopia received bail

A group of 10 Canadian volunteers, three Canadians on staff and two Ethiopian staff members were in custody

An Alberta-based humanitarian organization says 13 Canadians who work with the charity and were detained in Ethiopia have received bail.

Canadian Humanitarian said Saturday that a group of 10 Canadian volunteers, three Canadians on staff and two Ethiopian staff members were in custody in the African country on allegations they were practising medicine without permission and had dispensed expired medication.

The charity has disputed the allegations.

“With support of Canadian consular officials, Global Affairs Canada and legal representatives on the ground, Canadian Humanitarian can confirm that documentation is currently being processed that will hopefully see the detainees released on bail tomorrow,” it said in a statement Tuesday.

“At that point they will be free to move within the country, but it is uncertain when Ethiopian authorities will allow their return to Canada.”

James Murphy, a brother-in-law of one of the detainees, said the situation has been distressing for the families.

“We are focusing all of our efforts on getting our loved ones back to Canada safely and quickly,” he said in the statement.

The charity added that one of its representatives as well as consular officers have been permitted brief access to the prison and said the detainees have received fair treatment.

Edmonton Strathcona MP Heather McPherson, the NDP’s international development critic, said she has also been keeping a close eye on the situation.

“I am incredibly worried,” she said in an interview earlier Tuesday.

McPherson said she has been receiving regular updates from Global Affairs Canada about the case and heard they had received bail.

“It does look likely that they will be able to be removed from the prison, which is great news,” she said.

Global Affairs did not provide additional information Tuesday, but a spokeswoman again said they are fully engaged with Ethiopian officials.

Department officials are in contact with local authorities to gather more information, she said, while consular officials are working with the Canadians and their families.

Canadian Humanitarian said last week that the group’s mission was to provide essential medical care to Ethiopians.

“While we cannot comment on the specifics of the expiry of the medication, we can with confidence say that all medicine and care offered by our team was safe,” said a Feb. 29 statement. “Our medical groups are comprised of numerous doctors and medical professionals.”

The organization is described as a registered charity that has been sending volunteers abroad to provide medical and dental support, along with other humanitarian services, since 2003.

McPherson, who’s a former executive director of the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation, said she travelled to Gondar with Canadian Humanitarian in 2012.

“My experience is that they would understand the need of treating all people with the same level of health care,” she said. “They are accustomed to working in Ethiopia and they are accustomed to following the letter of what’s required.”

She said the charity follows a code of ethics developed by the Canadian Council for International Co-operation that sets operational standards.

McPherson said the detained Canadians included charity founders Dr. Richard Northcott and Deborah Northcott from Medicine Hat, Alta. Some of the others are from Alberta and British Columbia, she said.

“My first priority is making sure they are safe while they are in Ethiopia, making sure they are receiving as much support as we can give them through consular services and making sure the legal process … is done in a transparent way,” said McPherson.

“For me, right now, the biggest concern is their welfare and their safety. I want to see these Canadians — all these Canadians — come home.”

Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Canada

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Imagination Library Fraser Valley celebrating Christmas in July

Dolly Parton early literacy intiative looking for financial support to help with waitlist

Online submissions now open for virtual Chilliwack Fair

No fee this year to submit entries for food, arts and more in 148th annual Chilliwack Fair

Handgun pointing complaint draws strong RCMP presence at Chilliwack residence Wednesday night

One in custody after brief standoff involving Emergency Response Team and canine unit

Iconic Chilliwack store passes clothing racks on to downtown neighbours

Chilliwack Mission Thriftstore given racks and fixtures as downtown store closes for good

Exercise and cancer to be explored via webinar

UFV’s Dr. Iris Lesser to lead Zoom event for cancer patients and supporters

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Police nab three impaired drivers in one night in Maple Ridge

Ridge Meadows RCMP served 80 impaired driving infractions in June

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

Most Read