Body of Canadian who died in Cuba and was mistakenly buried in Russia has returned home


More than two months after Faraj Jarjour died while on vacation in Cuba, his body was returned to Quebec, a family friend confirmed.

Jarjour, 68, was swimming when he died of a heart attack on March 22. His body was to be returned to his home country by a Cuban government agency.

But when the funeral home in Laval, Quebec, took the coffin to a laboratory several weeks later to prepare Jarjour for burial, the person inside looked nothing like the photo provided by the family.

Jarjour's children Miriam and Karam spoke to several media outlets in the hope of getting answers about where their father might be and when they could finally bury him.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez posted a social media post apologizing for the situation and saying Cuban authorities were “conducting investigations to clarify the incident.”

Eventually, the family learned that the body had been buried in a Russian town north of Moscow after Cuban government officials mistakenly swapped two bodies and shipped them to the wrong countries.

Cuba said it would reimburse the family the $10,000 it cost to repatriate them.

Anas Fransis, a family friend, said the family will receive condolences in Montreal on Sunday and a funeral will be held in Laval on Tuesday.

He said the condition of the body had deteriorated considerably, but technicians had managed to make Jarjour presentable for an open casket ceremony.

The family is relieved, Francis said, but they are still grappling with grief over the incident. He said they are speaking to a lawyer about seeking financial compensation from Canadian and Cuban authorities.

Jarjour leaves behind his wife Dina Ghoulam, with whom he was married for 35 years, and his two children.

WATCH | CBC spoke to the family after the mistake was discovered:

He died on vacation in Cuba. The fake body was sent to Canada

The family of a man who died while on vacation in Cuba is trying to track down Faraj Jarjour's remains after the body of another man – who did not resemble Jarjour – was sent back to Canada. The family says they have not received any answers about how the mix-up occurred or where Jarjour's body is.