11/01/2011 03:20 EDT | Updated 01/01/2012 05:12 EST

Canadian family released after a month in Saudi Arabian prison

OTTAWA - A Canadian man, his wife and two young children have been released after spending more than a month in a Saudi Arabian prison.

Diane Ablonczy, minister of state for foreign affairs, confirmed Tuesday that Majeed Uddin Ahmed and his family have been freed on bail and given 25 days to leave Saudi Arabia.

She said Canadian consular officials are arranging travel documents so that the family can return to Canada.

"I know it has been a very difficult time for the Ahmeds and for their concerned relatives here," she told the Commons.

Ablonczy thanked "our partners in Saudi Arabia" for co-operating on the case and addressing Canada's concerns about the treatment of the family.

Ahmed, his wife and two daughters, aged 18 months and five years, were picked up in late September by police in Jeddah, where the family had been living for about four years.

Canadian officials have said the charges were "minor," apparently related to alleged visa violations.

Ahmed is a Canadian citizen, as are both his daughters.

However, his wife, Zareen, is not a Canadian. A senior government official said she will be issued travel documents so that she may accompany her family to Canada.