Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

BREAKING THE SILENCE: A SPEAKING TOUR WITH ABOUSFIAN ABDELRAZIK

Posted by strattof on November 21, 2010

WHO IS ABOUSFIAN ABDELRAZIK?

The name “Maher Arar” is now well-known in Canada. Less familiar is the story of another Canadian–Abousfian Abdelrazik–who was also imprisoned and tortured with the complicity of the Canadian government. 

THE BACKGROUND: PRISONS WITH WALLS

In 2003, Abousfian Abdelrazik travelled from Montreal to Sudan to visit his ailing mother. Once there, he was arrested and imprisoned. In 2008 the Canadian Federal Court concluded that this arrest probably took place at the request of Canada’s spy agency, CSIS.

During two periods of detention, totaling a year and a half, Mr. Abdelrazik was beaten, threatened, 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 Canadian 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 one to him.  

In 2008, afraid of being rearrested, Mr. Abderazik 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 17 months, but he is still not free. For his name is on the UN list of suspected terrorists, placed there in 2006, probably at the request of the US.
  • The list, known as 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.

WHO IS NEXT? CAUSE FOR ALL CANADIANS TO WORRY

Canadians like to think of human rights violations as something that happens elsewhere, in Afghanistan, for example, but not in Canada. However, Canada itself is not fulfilling its human rights obligations. Since 2001, the Canadian government has cited “national security” as an excuse to violate international and Canadian human rights legislation and to target Canadian citizens of certain ethnic or religious backgrounds.

The Canadian Citizenship Act states that all citizens are equal before the law. But in practice, Canada seems to have two-tier citizenship.

Canadians would do well to heed Martin Niemöller’s 1940s warning to his fellow Germans, a contemporary version of which appears below:

First they went for Muslim Canadians.

I remained silent because I was not Muslim.

Then they went for recent immigrants.

I did not speak up because I was not one of them.

Next they went after peace and justice activists.

Again I remained silent. I was not one of them either.

By the time they came for me

There was no one left to speak up.

A CALL FOR SOLIDARITY

Come to BREAKING THE SILENCE: A SPEAKING TOUR WITH ABOUSFIAN ABDELRAZIK

The national organizer of the event, Project Fly Home, will be seeking our support to put pressure on the Canadian government to immediately lift the sanctions on Mr. Abdelrazik, to ask all UN Security Council members to support delisting Mr. Abdelrazik, and to withdraw from the unjust and unconstitutional 1267 sanctions regime.

THURSDAY NOVEMBER 18, at 7:30 pm, UNIVERSITY OF REGINA, CLASSROOM BUILDING 130

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: