Canadian Businessman Imprisoned in Cuba to Appeal Sentence

Renowned Canadian businessman imprisoned in Cuba, 74-year-old Cy Tokmakjian, has decided to appeal to the country’s Supreme Court in order to reverse the alleged wrongful conviction. Tokmakjian was ordered 15 years imprisonment in Cuba last month on corruption-related charges. Cuba offices of the Ontario-based automotive company Tokmakjian Group were raided in 2011, from where Tokmakjian was arrested and held for more than two years before his June 2014 trial.

According to Tokmakjian’s lawyers, the decision to appeal the verdict in Cuba’s Supreme Court was made on Thursday as they were earlier considering the option of forgoing the appeal given that the Cuban government allowed Tokmakjian to serve his sentence in Canada. A human rights lawyer assisting the family, Lorne Waldman, alleged that “Cy Tokmakjian was detained unfairly and has suffered enough. Cuba should allow Cy to return to Canada immediately,” adding that “we will continue to work with the Canadian Government to help us win Cy’s release.”

Tokmakjian’s family mentioned in a statement issued on Thursday that he was a victim of “internal power struggles within the changing Cuban political regime.” According to the family, other international businesspeople have also been wrongfully imprisoned. The statement said that “our father is a well-respected entrepreneur who has been doing business in Cuba for more than 20 years,” adding that “since the very beginning of Mr. Tokmakjian’s legal ordeal in Cuba, he has been denied the most fundamental human and civil rights recognized under both Canadian and international law. Cy is innocent.”

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