A 24-year-old Canadian woman held against her will for two-and-a-half years in Saudi Arabia was reunited today with her boyfriend in Dubai.
Bjorn Singhal, who met Nazia Quazi at the University of Ottawa, says the newly reunited couple may marry as early as this week.
They plan to see a judge tomorrow in the United Arab Emirates to apply for a marriage certificate.
"I am overjoyed," the 29-year-old Mr. Singhal said from Sharjah, an emirate neighbouring Dubai. "I don't have the words to express it."
Ms. Quazi, an information technology analyst, had been stuck in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, since visiting her father there in late 2007. The father, an Indian national working in Saudi Arabia, reportedly seized her travel documents and identification and made it impossible for her to leave; Saudi law prevents unmarried women from leaving the country without their male guardian's authorization.
The father was said to disapprove of his daughter's relationship with Mr. Singhal, whose mother - a Montreal resident - is Muslim but whose father is Hindu.
However, Ms. Quazi's mother and father accompanied their daughter to Dubai today and have now consented to the marriage, according to Mr. Singhal. It was not possible to reach either parent for comment.
Ms. Quazi's case was taken up by Human Rights Watch and earned the attention of some federal MPs in Ottawa.
Mr. Singhal, a commercial pilot who works as a flight operations supervisor in Dubai, says Ms. Quazi appeared thinner and paler than when he last saw her two years ago, but she was in high spirits.
"She is very, very happy," he said. He said he wanted to thank supporters in Canada for helping end Ms. Quazi's ordeal.