Kurdish doctor featured in one of Harper’s promotional videos now accused of child abduction

Five months ago, Dr. was lauding the Conservative government’s decision to extend ’s mission to battle Islamic extremists in . Featured prominently in one of Prime Minister ’s promotional videos, he warned that millions were in danger from such terrorists.

Defence Minister also took to Twitter to laud Azer as a man “doing tremendous work” with Canada’s Kurdish community helping Iraqi refugees.

But today, Azer is a man on the run, sought by the RCMP for the alleged abduction of his children. INTERPOL has published the photos and details about the Canadian children, listing them as missing.

Azer is believed to be heading to northern Iraq to take refuge in the Kurdish enclave there.

I am now living a nightmare

Police informed his ex-wife, Alison Azer, that they believed her former husband, an internist in Comox, B.C., had taken the four children, 11-year-old Sharvahn; Rojevahn, 9; Dersim, 7; and Meitan, 3.

“I am now living a nightmare,” Alison wrote in an update on a website trying to raise awareness about the abduction. “Every day that passes without word from my children makes me more fearful.”

Saren Azer, also known as Salahaddin Mahmudi Azer, is a Kurd who has lived in Canada since 1994. He is a medical doctor who has done humanitarian work in the Kurdistan region of Iraq annually since 2007.

Azer was legally permitted to leave Canada with the children but when he didn’t return as scheduled, the Supreme Court of British Columbia issued an Aug. 21 order requiring that the children be returned immediately to their mother, RCMP spokesman Cpl. Darren Lagan said in an email Friday.

Jason Kenney / TwitterJason Kenney / TwitterIn March Defence Minister Jason Kenney highlighted his meeting with Dr. Saren Azer on his twitter account, lauding the doctor as a man “doing tremendous work.”

The RCMP has since issued an arrest warrant for Azer, in relation to charges of Abduction in Contravention of a Custody Order, contrary to Section 282 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

The RCMP isn’t releasing further details but Lagan noted it is working with international law enforcement agencies and INTERPOL, “as well as taking steps to restrict further international travel by the father and children.”

In a video posted on the prime minister’s website April 1, Azer praised the government for extending Canada’s military mission in Iraq. He also met with Harper in his office.

A month earlier, Azer had met with Kenney. who took to twitter to post a photo of the two together and praise the doctor.

Since then, Kenney has received comments on his tweet, requesting help in finding the children. One questioned why Kenney had been quiet about Azer since the arrest warrant was issued.

Kenney didn’t respond to the Twitter comments.

Kenney’s spokesman, Daniel Proussalidis, said in an email to the Citizen, “Minister‎ Kenney meets with thousands of Canadians every year, and does not inquire about whether they are involved in personal or family disputes. In this instance, Dr. Azer was described by people in the Comox Valley area, and members of the Canadian Kurdish community, as a highly regarded physician and humanitarian.”

The Citizen asked the Conservative party about what type of vetting was done on Azer before the government decided to feature him in promotional material. Party spokesman Stephen Lecce responded that “the government has met with many groups and individuals who are working to assist victims of ISIL. An allegation of child abduction is a serious matter for the RCMP.”

The children were last heard from in Cologne, Germany on Aug. 13.

About David Pugliese, Postmedia News