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Canadian tourist detained in Cuba following boating death allowed to return home

Toufik Benhamiche returned to Canada on Saturday a free man after Cuba's Supreme Court granted an exceptional authorization to leave the country, annulling a sentence by a provincial court rendered in Ciego de Avila.
Toufik Benhamiche returned to Canada on Saturday a free man after Cuba's Supreme Court granted an exceptional authorization to leave the country, annulling a sentence by a provincial court rendered in Ciego de Avila. Kahina Bensaadi/HO/The Canadian Press

A Quebecer who spent more than two years in legal limbo in Cuba following the death of a fellow Canadian tourist has returned home.

Toufik Benhamiche returned to Canada on Saturday a free man after Cuba’s Supreme Court granted an exceptional authorization to leave the country, annulling a sentence by a provincial court rendered in Ciego de Avila.

READ MORE: Supporters to press Cuba for return of Quebecer caught in legal limbo

Benhamiche was tried twice in a Cuban provincial court and had been prevented from leaving the country since a boating accident that killed a woman from Ontario during an excursion in July 2017 in Cayo Coco.

He told journalists today at the office of local Bloc Québecois MP Luc Thériault he was relieved to finally be home.

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READ MORE: Canadian tourist facing four years in Cuban jail has conviction overturned: wife

Thériault, who had championed Benhamiche’s case, said Canadian officials didn’t do enough to help deal with the matter promptly and called it worrisome for those expecting help if they get into trouble abroad.

Kahina Bensaadi, Benhamiche’s wife, says Canadian officials recently stepped up their efforts.

Bensaadi said that after more than two years of highs and lows, she didn’t tell her daughters the news until they got to the airport, and she only believed it herself when she saw her husband with her own eyes.

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Protest for release of Quebec man in Cuban jail
Protest for release of Quebec man in Cuban jail