Bashir Makhtal’s cousin asks Ottawa to push for release from Ethiopia jail

Bashir Makhtal has been in prison in Addis Ababa since 2007

CBC

A court found the 45-year-old guilty of three counts of being a member of a terrorist organization in 2009 and sentenced him to life in prison. Makhtal has denied the charges. (Toronto Star/Canadian Press)
A court found the 45-year-old guilty of three counts of being a member of a terrorist organization in 2009 and sentenced him to life in prison. Makhtal has denied the charges. (Toronto Star/Canadian Press)

A Canadian man imprisoned in Ethiopia is getting support from his cousin, now living in Cape Breton.

Said Maktal moved to Sydney this summer to attend Cape Breton University, bringing with him years of documentation and a determination to see his cousin freed.

Bashir Makhtal has been in prison in Addis Ababa since 2007. A court found the 45-year-old guilty of three counts of being a member of a terrorist organization in 2009 and sentenced him to life in prison. Makhtal has denied the charges.

Makhtal was born in an ethnic Somalian region of Ethiopia called Ogaden. He moved to Somalia at age 11, then fled the country when he was a teenager, eventually arriving in Canada as a refugee in 1991.

He became a Canadian citizen in 1994 and holds no other citizenship.

Makhtal lived, studied and worked in Toronto. In 2001, he returned to Kenya to run a used clothing business, which often took him to Somalia. He was in Somalia when Ethiopia invaded in December 2006 in a move against the Council of Islamic Courts, a group that controlled much of Somalia’s south.

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