Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

A Prison Without Walls: The Case of Abousfian Abdelrazik

Posted by strattof on May 4, 2010

THE BACKGROUND: PRISONS WITH WALLS

  • In 2003, Abousfian Abdelrazik, a Canadian citizen, travelled from Montreal to Sudan to visit his ailing mother. Once there, he was arrested at the request of Canada’s spy agency, CSIS. During two periods of imprisonment totaling a year and a half, he was threatened, beaten, and tortured. He was also interrogated by CSIS officials. He was never charged. 
  • Following his release in 2006, Mr. Abdelrazik made many attempts to return to Canada. Because his passport had expired while he was in prison, he needed a travel document. But, even though he had been cleared of all suspicion by CSIS and the RCMP, the Canadian government refused to issue him that document.
  • In 2008, afraid of being rearrested, Mr. Abdelrazik claimed refuge in the Canadian Embassy in Sudan. He lived in the Embassy for 14 months, unable to leave the grounds, until a Federal Court order, along with public pressure, forced the Canadian government to bring him back to Canada.  

THE PRESENT: A PRISON WITHOUT WALLS

  • Mr. Abdelrazik has been back in Canada for nearly a year, but he is still not free. For his name is on the United Nations 1267 list of suspected terrorists, placed there in 2006 at the request of the United States. 
  • The 1267 list is not only a “no fly” list. It also imposes sanctions that prevent listed individuals from earning a salary, receiving gifts or loans of money, or maintaining a bank account. These restrictions make it impossible for Mr. Abdelrazik to rebuild his life. So, even though he has never been charged with anything, he continues to live in a prison–now one without walls.

THE 1267 PRISON LIST

  • The restrictions placed on listed individuals are severe and indefinite. Such individuals have no right to a hearing before being listed, face vague allegations, and are provided with no evidence to support the claims against them.
  • The 1267 list relies on guilt by association and profiling to cast a shadow over entire populations. Such policies trample on the fundamental rights and dignities of immigrants, marginalize targeted communities, create fear, and silence debate.
  • As the Federal Court of Canada wrote in its 2009 ruling, the 1267 list is “a denial of basic legal remedies” and is “untenable under the principles of international human rights.”

DELISTING

  • Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon says it is Mr. Abdelrazik’s responsibility to get himself off the list. But it is not possible for Mr. Abdelrazik to do so as listed individuals are not permitted to know why they were put on the list in the first place.
  • The Canadian government itself has made no serious attempt to have Mr. Abdelrazik delisted. Nor has it made any move to lift sanctions from Mr. Abdelrazik in Canada, although it is within its power to do so immediately. 
HELP GET ABOUSFIAN ABDELRAZIK OUT OF THE 1267 PRISON

  • Find out more about Abousfian Abdelrazik and the 1267 list by going to  the website of the People’s commission:  http://peoplescommission.org/enabdelrazik/  The People’s Commission is a Montréal based network that works on behalf of individuals and groups who face oppression in the name of “national security.” It ran the Project Fly Home campaign that, in 2009, helped force the government to repatriate Mr. Abdelrazik.
  • Sign the postcard addressed to Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon and pop it in the maibox.
  • Contact Prime Minister Stephen Harper and tell him you want his government 1) to lift sanctions from Mr. Abdelrazik immediately and 2) to contact all United Nations Security Council members to inform them that Mr. Abdelrazik’s removal from the 1267 list is a diplomatic priority for Canada.: pm@pm.gc.ca or 613-992-4211.
  • On April 28, participate in the sanctions busting telethon organized by Project Fly Home. Call toll free 1-877-737-4070 between 5 pm and 7 pm (Regina time) and join the long list of people who have defied the illegal 1267 regime by contributing money to Mr. Abdelrazik as an act of solidarity.
  • Send a check or money order made out to “Abousfian Abdelrazik” to CSCP Charlevoix, PO Box 65053, Montréal QC, H3K 0K4.

 

 

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