Dr. Rafik Benaissa Very Concerned About Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber's Decision to Detain Brother Without Charges in a Bern Prison

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Oilman and orthopedic trauma surgeon Dr. Rafik Benaissa is very concerned about Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber's decision to detain brother Riadh Ben Aissa in a Bern prison without charges. Calls it a shameful political vendetta.

Dr. Rafik Benaissa

Oilman and orthopedic trauma surgeon Dr. Rafik Benaissa is very concerned about Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber's decision to detain brother Riadh Ben Aissa in a Bern prison without charges.

"My brother was arrested in Switzerland in April of this year just on the suspicion of crimes he has not committed. He is sitting in a Bern jail cell measuring 2 x 4 meters with no windows and allowed only one hour a day to see the daylight. My Geneva attorneys talk about an "unusual" kind of detention for Switzerland. Since my brother exited Libya during NATO bombardments, he suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome, a difficult condition I have been helping him with just before his arrest," says Dr. Rafik Benaissa.

"In a state of confusion and great fatigue, Riadh Ben Aissa faced unfair and outrageous accusations from SNC Lavalin in December 2011 in the form of an internal investigation. We feel that his medical condition prevented him from properly facing this additional stressful situation. Mr. Ben Aissa trusted SNC Lavalin would treat him fairly. For him, SNC Lavalin was his home. SNC Lavalin's decision to dismiss him dishonorably in February 2012 took him by surprise. Riadh Ben Aissa was responsible for SNC Lavalin operations in Libya when the revolution started in February 2011. His efforts to evacuate the SNC Lavalin personnel from Benghazi and Tripoli were heroic, but so was his road trip to Tripoli from Tunisia in August 2011 when he was able to secure a large payment from the Libyan government to SNC Lavalin for construction work completed in Libya," says Tunisia-based attorney Hatem Kourda.

"Between March 2011 and September 2011 and as thousands of Libyan and African refugees flooded the refugee camps of Southern Tunisia, my brother's phone was jammed with hundreds of calls from African and Libyan friends stranded in Libya and desperately asking for help. He ended up shutting down his phone and eventually changed phone number. In January 2012, my brother said that he still lived with the calls from people stuck somewhere in Libya in a major war and screaming for help, some of them saying that they had lost family members. He said that he felt a deep guilt and sorrow not to be able to help people who were so hospitable with him when he stayed in Libya. My brother spent 27 years in Libya and these major changes took a toll on him as an exceptionally dedicated and hardworking SNC Lavalin employee who made so many friends over there. In January 2012, my brother was suffering from a full blown post-traumatic stress syndrome. His detention in a Bern prison is outrageous and could aggravate his condition," adds Dr. Rafik Benaissa.

"We are very disturbed by Swiss Attorney General Mr. Michael Lauber's decision to detain Riadh Ben Aissa without charges and without a clear deadline in his detention. We unfortunately see in the Swiss Department of Justice's decision to detain Mr. Ben Aissa an obvious political vendetta that reminds us of the year where the Swiss Government was having trouble with the Kadhafi regime and was itself dealing with a Swiss citizen detained in Tripoli. There is something hateful and brutal about Riadh Ben Aissa's arrest in Switzerland that is very disturbing. It is an inappropriate saga of unfairness and hatred which is typical of vendettas that follow regime changes except that it is happening in Switzerland. A Justice Department from a civilized country arrests a family man and treats him as a criminal until he is proven innocent. The rules of international justice and human rights are reversed," adds Attorney Hatem Kourda.

"I'm looking forward to an end to this shameful political vendetta and looking for justice for my brother and for my family. I will certainly hold the Swiss Department of Justice accountable before an International Court or a US Federal court should something happen to my brother and have already had several phone conferences with a law firm from The Hague in the Netherlands and my US-based attorneys," concludes Dr. Rafik Benaissa.

Attorney Hatem Kourda Avocat

Attorney Elie Chahwan Avocat
(514) 726-1636

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