Daughter was excited to visit Iraq, recorded phone call reveals

Ella Castle

Article content continued Al Aazawi, 40, faces charges of international kidnapping and abduction in violation of a parenting order, in connection with taking Zahraa to Iraq in late June 2018. He and his daughter were travelling together for her summer vacation and she was to be returned to Calgary on […]

Article content continued

Al Aazawi, 40, faces charges of international kidnapping and abduction in violation of a parenting order, in connection with taking Zahraa to Iraq in late June 2018.

He and his daughter were travelling together for her summer vacation and she was to be returned to Calgary on Sept. 5 of that year.

But on that date, neither father nor daughter came back to Canada, and Al Aazawi was arrested the following April, in Toronto, when he showed up alone.

Al Aazawi has testified he had permission from the girl’s mother to take her to their native Iraq to visit family as part of their Middle Eastern vacation.

Once there, however, he said Zahraa, now 13, insisted she wouldn’t return to Canada, despite pleas from himself and other family members to leave Iraq.

In the conversation, most of which was translated from Arabic but a portion of which was in English, the alleged victim seemed excited about the prospect of going to Iraq with her father.

In the phone call, while Zahraa was at her father’s Calgary home, she told her mom he was going to Najaf “and I am going with him.”

“Go with him if you want to,” Mahdi said. “If you want to go, go.”

A jubilant-sounding Zahraa then says: “Yay! Daddy, I am going with you.”

The girl never accompanied Al Aazawi to Najaf.

A date for final submissions in the case will be set on Oct. 23. Al Aazawi remains free on bail.

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On Twitter: @KMartinCourts

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