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'He’s done great things': incarcerated Windsorite works to make prison more culturally sensitive for fellow inmates

Beaver Creek Institution, a medium-security prison, in Gravenhurst, Ont. (CTV News/Mike Arsalides) Beaver Creek Institution, a medium-security prison, in Gravenhurst, Ont. (CTV News/Mike Arsalides)
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The ‘faint hope’ hearing of Ali Al-Shammari, 38, continued Tuesday in Superior court.

Al-Shammari is asking a jury – now down to 13 people – for the chance to apply for parole five years sooner than his sentence currently allows.

He was sentenced to life in prison in December 2007 for the November 2004 murder of Thualfikar Alattiya, 41, who was stabbed to death in the backseat of his taxi cab.

Al-Shammari’s mandatory sentence means he can’t ask for parole until 2029.

Since April 8, his lawyers have been presenting evidence to support a request for early parole, called a ‘faint hope hearing’ in the Criminal Code of Canada.

Cheryl Dillon, an employee of Beaver Creek Institution testified remotely Tuesday from the minimum security wing of the facility in Gravenhurst, Ont.

That is where Al-Shammari is currently incarcerated.

Dillon is in charge of the canteen at the prison and she told the jury Al-Shammari has been working for the last three years to make “ethnic products” available for purchase.

“He was just trying to look out for the Muslim population,” Dillon said. “He’s done great things.”

Dillon said Al-Shammari was also “instrumental” in developing what she called a “Ramadan bag” for inmates who are Islamic.

Before this, Dillon said there was only the typical “holiday drive” during the Christmas season.

Dillon told the jury inmates at Beaver Creek have access to the canteen every two weeks.

Inmates have $200 to spend per year and they have 125 items to choose from, according to Dillon.

Correction

Correction: The correct spelling is Alattiya, not Alantiyya.

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