Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

ABOUSFIAN ABDELRAZIK: A CALL FOR SUPPORT AND SOLIDARITY

Posted by strattof on June 18, 2011

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

Abdelrazik is still not free of the shackles placed on him. For he remains on an international blacklist and continues to live under sanctions that freeze his assets, making it illegal for any Canadian to give him money–whether a gift, loan, or salary.

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 on the recommendation of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).  

Never charged, he was threatened, beaten, and tortured during two periods of detention. In this context, he was interrogated by CSIS officials and the FBI. 

Following his release in 2006, 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, as well as by Sudan, the Canadian government refused to issue one to him. 

In 2008, afraid of being rearrested, 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

Abdelrazik has been back in Canada for two years, but he is still not free as his name is on the UN list of suspected terrorists, placed there in 2006 by the Bush administration. He was not told that he was being placed on the list or why he was on the list and he was given no opportunity to defend himself.

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 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.

NEWSFLASH

Last week, Mr. Abdelrazik learned that his application for child-benefit payments had been turned down by the Quebec government because his name is on the UN 1267 list. The letter states that he will have to obtain an exemption from the 1267 Committee in order to get the benefits. As Mr. Abdelrazik said, “This is my children’s money. The sanctions don’t just apply to me, they are being applied to my kids as well.” Mr. Abdelrazik is a single parent of two children under age 18. Every other Canadian parent of children under age 18 is entitled to receive child-benefit payments.

THE 1267 LIST: UNJUST AND UNFAIR

“I add my name to those who view the 1267 Committee regime as a denial of basic legal remedies and as untenable under the principles of international human rights. There is nothing in the listing and de-listing procedure that recognizes the principles of natural justice or that provides for basic procedural fairness….It can hardly be said that the 1267 Committee process meets the requirement of independence and impartiality when, as appears may be the case involving Mr. Abdelrazik, the nation requesting the listing is one of the members of the body that decides whether to list, or equally as important, to de-list a person. The accuser is also the Judge.”  –Canadian Court Justice Russel Zinn, 4 June 2009

GETTING ABDELRAZIK OFF THE 1267 LIST

In January 2011, Abdelrazik submitted a delisting application to the 1267 Committee through the ombudsperson. Crucial to the success of Abdelrazik’s application is public support for his delisting and public exposure of the injustice and unfairness of the 1267 regime.

Project Fly Home, a grassroots organization, is calling on all Canadians who believe in justice and fairness to join a solidarity effort to get Abdelrazik off the 1267 list. Here is what we can do

  • We can call on Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Leader of the Opposition, Jack Layton 1) to lift the sanctions from Mr. Abdelrazik in Canada; and 2) to contact the embassies of all United Nations Security Council members to inform them that Mr. Abdelrazik’s removal from the 1267 list is a diplomatic priority for Canada. Here are some of the reasons we might give them: 1) The 1267 list violates rights to liberty, security, and freedom of association. 2) Without trial, charge, or evidence, the 1267 list strips people of their liberty. 3) The 1267 list violates the most fundamental human rights. 4) CSIS and the RCMP cleared Abousfian Abdelrazik of any criminal activity in November 2007.

To help convince Mr. Harper and Mr. Layton, email them the backgrounder on the 1267 list: www.peooplescommission.org/en/1267.php

Prime Minister Stephen Harper: pm@pm.gc.ca or 613-992-4211

NDP Leader, Jack Layton: Layton.J@parl.gc.ca or 416-405-8914

  • We can join the Abdelrazik-Project Fly Home Facebook group. It is a way to deliberately and publically associate with Abdelrazik, as well as to keep in touch with the campaign to get him delisted. 
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