04/06/2013 11:24 EDT | Updated 06/06/2013 05:12 EDT

Canadian In Mauritanian Jail Visited By Consular Officials


Doubt is being cast on a young Canadian man's claim that the federal government is not helping him try to get out of jail in the West African nation of Mauritania.

Sources familiar with the file tell CBC News that Aaron Yoon has been visited nine times by either Canada's Honorary Consul based in Mauritania or by consular officials based in Rabat, Morocco.

The sources say he repeatedly urged officials not to contact his family in Canada to advise them of his situation. The government is required by the Privacy Act to abide by that kind of request.

Yoon told CBC's Adrienne Arsenault by cellphone this week that he has been imprisoned for "almost two years" and hasn't received "any help from the Canadian government."

"I have been wrongfully accused, I've been beat up and tortured. I'm still sick and I still don't see any medical attention yet," he said.

Yoon has been in custody in Mauritania since December 2011.

Last July, he was sentenced to two years in jail on charges of belonging to an illegal organization.

Yoon, who is in his early 20s, is from London, Ont., and went abroad with two high school friends who later died in an attack on an Algerian gas plant.

Ali Medlej, 24, and Xris Katsiroubas, 22, are the two Canadian men who were involved in the al-Qaeda-linked attack on the gas refinery. It appears Yoon had no role in the attack.

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