Toronto– Hundreds of Somali-Canadians and members of the general public recently took to the streets in Toronto in a public demonstration aimed at voicing support for Bashir Makhtal, the Canadian citizen illegally held in Ethiopia for the last five years.

The public protest is part of a series of pro-Makhtal demonstrations that have been taking place in Ottawa and Toronto calling for the Canadian Federal government to intervene on behalf of Bashir Makhtal. Many observers believe that Canada holds leverage over Ethiopia, which is one of the largest recipients of Canadian development aid in Africa.


A hard working and talented Canadian, Makhtal holds a Bachelor degree in Computer Science and has worked as a computer programmer for the Bank of Montreal and CIBC.


Canadians of all walks of life are appalled by Ottawa’s inaction on this critical matter and feel that the Federal government is abdicating its responsibility by failing to hold Ethiopia to account and for not taking drastic steps to bring Makhtal’s suffering to a close. Rights groups have persistently stated that Makhtal is being held against provisions of international law and that Canada should act swiftly to secure his unconditional release.

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