Lebanon has freed a Dutch-born Canadian potato producer after holding him in prison without charge for 373 days for allegedly delivering diseased potatoes.
Henk Tepper, 44, is expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday evening. In March 2011 he was visiting Lebanon with a Canadian trade delegation when he was detained on an Interpol arrest warrant.
The warrant was issued in 2007 after Algeria refused a potato shipment saying part of it was contaminated with ring rot. After selling the potatoes to Algeria at a loss of 1.3 million Canadian dollars, Mr Tepper took legal action against Algeria. Algeria responded by asking Interpol to arrest Mr Tepper. The Canadian authorities don’t regard ring rot as a threat to public health.
Mr Tepper was never charged. His family accuse the Canadian authorities of not doing enough to secure his release. They say his release is largely the result of their helpers' efforts.
Mr Tepper runs a large company in New Brunswick which exports potatoes to a range of countries including Russia, Lebanon and Algeria. Mr Tepper lived in the Netherlands until the age of 12, when his parents emigrated to Canada and took Canadian nationality.
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