OTTAWA - A New Brunswick farmer who spent more than a year in a Beirut jail on allegations he shipped rotten potatoes to Algeria is suing the Canadian government, arguing it didn't protect his Charter rights.
Henk Tepper says in a statement of claim filed Monday with the Federal Court in Ottawa that the government didn't do enough to try to secure his release.
"The defendant's conduct constitutes a marked departure from the ordinary standards of decent behaviour and interfered with one of Tepper's most fundamental rights as a human being, the right to liberty and security of person," the lawsuit says.
"The defendant blatantly disregarded the repeated requests of Tepper, his family members, his legal counsel and the Lebanese authorities for assistance in securing Tepper's release."
The $16.5-million lawsuit also says the RCMP provided misinformation to Algerian authorities prior to Tepper's arrest.
The claims in the lawsuit have not been proven in court.
Tepper was arrested in Lebanon on March 23, 2011, when he travelled to the Middle East on an agricultural trade mission to promote seed potatoes from Canada.
He was detained on an international arrest warrant on allegations he exported rotten potatoes to Algeria in 2007 and forged export documents — allegations he denies.
Tepper returned to Canada on March 31, 2012, after his lawyers got a Lebanese presidential decree.