The Canadian government says it will not intervene to bring home a Quebec woman who claims her husband is refusing to allow her and her three children to leave Saudi Arabia.
Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon discussed the case of Nathalie Morin with his Saudi counterpart during a visit to Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
After his return from Riyadh, Cannon said he considered the case to be a private matter that must be resolved by Saudi officials.
Cannon said Canada would respect the country’s law, which allows a husband to prevent his spouse and children from leaving the country without his permission.
In an interview with the French-language arm of the CBC, Morin said she has been trying to return home for 2½ years.
"He doesn’t keep me in Saudi Arabia because he loves me and wants to keep me — it is just that he wants to get money, or one day have a chance to travel," Morin told Radio-Canada.
Morin alleges she is regularly abused by her husband.
"I cry, he hits me. I laugh, he hits me. I talk, he hits me. I get angry, and he beats me," she said.
Contacted by Radio-Canada on the phone, Morin’s husband denied the allegations of violence.
Her mother, Johanne Durocher, said she was bitterly disappointed by the government’s refusal to repatriate her daughter.
"The government had important elements to negotiate for Nathalie, but didn’t use them," she said.
Durocher said she would not give up her fight to bring her daughter home.
Saudi laws were recently amended to allow foreign-born wives to leave without requiring their husband’s approval — but the change is not retroactive and so does not cover Morin and her children.
Radio-Canada is expected to air a full interview with Morin on Thursday.