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Bashir Mkhtal....

Lonely battle to free relative held in Ethiopia

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By Dana Borcea
The Hamilton Spectator(Apr 19, 2007)

Said Maktal of Hamilton has waged an exhausting and often lonely battle for information about his cousin who disappeared in Africa more than three months ago.

He has hired lawyers, petitioned politicians and spent countless hours glued to his computer hunting for clues. The father of two has sacrificed work, sleep and time with his infant daughter and newborn son.

He says he has no choice. His cousin's life is on the line and family members around the
 world expect that as a Canadian, Maktal can save him.

Last Updated on Sunday, 17 May 2009 18:52

the case.

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Said Maktal needs Ottawa to help free his imprisoned cousin.

Bashir Makhtal chronology:

Dec. 30 -- Canadian citizen and former Toronto resident Bashir Makhtal is arrested while trying to cross the Kenyan border after fleeing the threat of civil war in Somalia. After several weeks, he is deported back to Somalia and then on to Ethiopia.

-- His cousin, Hamilton resident, Said Maktal, learns of his arrest from family in Ethiopia and begins a campaign for

information about his whereabouts and well-being.

Last Updated on Sunday, 17 May 2009 19:09

Page 9 of 9

Wife despairs for man in Ethiopia jail


Debra Black
 Staff Reporter

It is the same every morning. Asiso Osman Abdi wakes at around 3 a.m., worried about her future and the plight of her husband Bashir Makhtal.

She goes into the comfy kitchen in the home of her cousin-in-law Said Maktal and makes tea and drinks it.

Her beautiful dark brown eyes are ringed with circles, recounts Maktal, who finds her in his kitchen every morning when he wakes to say prayers.

The peace of sleep eludes her, she tells him in Somali, because she is fearful she may never see her husband again.

“To me, I feel like the Canadian government doesn’t care about my husband and his passport,” she says through a translator during an interview with the Star.

Makhtal, a Canadian citizen, is serving a life sentence in a prison in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, after being charged with multiple counts of terrorism for allegedly being a ringleader with the Ogaden National Liberation Front, an ethnic Somali group formed to fight for independence in the oil-rich region.