Trial of Calgary man charged with abducting daughter and leaving her in Iraq underway

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Al Aazawi faces charges of international kidnapping and child abduction against a parental custody order in connection with incidents between June 16 and Sept. 5, 2018, when he took his daughter overseas.

In an opening address to the court, Crown prosecutor Martha O’Connor said the child’s mother, Zainab Mahdi, agreed to allow her ex-husband to take their daughter to Egypt for the summer.

O’Connor, who argued the girl was only 10 at the time, turning 11 while overseas, was supposed to be returned home on Sept. 5, to enter Grade 6 at Midnapore elementary.

But sometime during the agreed-upon trip to Egypt, Al Aazawi took Zahraa to the couple’s native Iraq.

“Ms. Mahdi will say she did not consent to the child being taken to Iraq,” O’Connor said.

Despite the arrangement made between the parents, the girl was not returned to Calgary as planned, the prosecutor said.

In conversations in March and April 2019, between the parents, which were recorded under a judicial authorization the accused confirmed the girl was in Iraq, O’Connor said.

Al Aazawi returned to Canada on April 4, 2019, and was arrested by Canadian Border Service Agency officials at Pearson International Airport and returned to Canada.

While the girl remains in Iraq, O’Connor told Stirling she will attempt to call Zahraa as a witness and if that is unsuccessful will ask the judge to allow What’s App exchanges she had with her mother into evidence.

On Twitter: @KMartinCourts


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