A pair of Metro Vancouver police officers detained in Cuba for nearly 10 months have returned home.
Vancouver Police Department (VPD) Const. Mark Simms and Port Moody Police Department (PMPD) Const. Jordan Long were acquitted in November on allegations of sexual assault.
However, Cuban prosecutors appealed that ruling, leaving the officers’ fate in limbo.
In a statement issued Saturday, the Simms and Long families said that the appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court of Cuba, and that the unanimous verdict by the lower court was upheld.
WATCH: Two Metro Vancouver police officers face appeal in Cuba sex assault
“It is with great joy that we announce the return of Mark and Jordan to Canadian soil,” the families wrote.
“These innocent victims of a malevolent lie are, at long last, home with their families. This last step happened unexpectedly quickly. Words cannot express our profound gratitude for all the support you have given us in so many different ways.”
Vancouver police confirmed Saturday that its officer “is back home” and said that the officer and his family were asking for privacy.
WATCH: Vancouver reverend visits cops detained in Cuba
Simms and Long had been vacationing in Varadero on March 14, 2018 when the incident that sparked the ordeal was alleged to have occurred.
Simms was accused of engaging in sexual activity with a 17-year-old girl from Ontario who had also been vacationing in the resort town.
The family and friends of the alleged victim, who is now 18, said she was staying at a resort as a part of a graduation trip, and that she phoned home in tears to say she had been assaulted.
In a statement to Global News, the alleged victim’s father said the family had to this point kept its silence to protect their daughter.
“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,” he said.
“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 of been dealt with in Cuba.”
Simms was investigated on a sexual assault allegation, while Long was held as a material witness to the alleged crime.
Supporters, including Simms’ sister and his reverend, who travelled to Cuba, had consistently maintained the men were innocent and pointed to a lack of evidence and problems with the Cuban justice system — including a lack of language services for the two men, who do not speak Spanish.