(Ottawa, Canada – May 2, 2008) – The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) and the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) are calling upon the government to immediately repatriate Canadian citizen Abousfian Abdelrazik. Mr. Abdelrazik has been stranded in Sudan since 2003, when he left Canada to visit his sick mother.
Even though Mr. Abdelrazik has never been charged with an offence in Canada or Sudan, he was twice arrested by Sudanese authorities. While in detention he was subject to CSIS interrogations. CSIS documents obtained under access to information say that Sudan jailed Mr. Abdelrazik “at our request.”
In October 2004, the Sudanese government, stating that there were no charges against Mr. Abdelrazik, offered Canada to charter him a flight back to Montreal. However, the Canadian government prevented his travel.
Currently, the Canadian embassy is sheltering Mr. Abdelrazik, providing him with what the Department of Foreign Affairs has termed a “temporary safe haven.” According to Mr. Abdelrazik’s Canadian lawyer, Yavar Hameed, Canadian diplomats have cautioned Mr. Abdelrazik when walking the streets of Khartoum, Sudan.
“While we understand that CSIS has flagged Mr. Abdelrazik as a national security concern, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees all citizens, including Mr. Abdelrazik, the right to enter Canada. If there are allegations against Mr. Abdelrazik, charges should be laid and he should be tried in Canada.
“No matter what the situation, Abousfian Abdelrazik should be repatriated by the Canadian government without delay,” said Ihsaan Gardee, CAIR-CAN Community Relations Director.
“It is shocking that even though the past Liberal and the current Conservative governments were briefed on Mr. Abdelrazik’s plight, Canada has continuously frustrated Mr. Abdelrazik’s attempts to leave Sudan,” Gardee added.
“Mr. Abdelrazik’s case brings to mind the Arar Inquiry, and the current Iacobucci Inquiry, which is examining the involvement of Canadian officials in the overseas detention and torture of Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati and Muayyed Nureddin,” said Roch Tassé, ICLMG Coordinator.
“It appears that Canada has many cases similar to that of Maher Arar’s. It’s time that the federal government fully implements Justice Dennis O’Connor’s report from the Arar Inquiry, which calls for the thorough and comprehensive review mechanisms of all national security agencies,” Tassé added.
De-classified CSIS documents reveal that a senior Foreign Affairs official stated in 2005 that Mr. Abdelrazik “has reached the end of his rope, he has no money, no future, very little freedom and no hope. Should this case break wide open in the media, we may have a lot to explaining to do.”
This week, Liberal leader Stéphane Dion said Mr. Abdelrazik “should be authorized to return to Canada,” and that if there are serious allegations against him he should be charged and tried “in Canada.”
Mr. Abdelrazik is living at a subsistence level with $100 a month loan he receives from the Canadian embassy fund for distressed citizens. Mr. Abdelrazik is also suffering from numerous health complications. He claims that he was beaten and mistreated while in prison.
CONTACT: Ihsaan Gardee, CAIR-CAN Community Relations Director, 613-254-9704 or 613-853-4111; or Roch Tassé, ICLMG Coordinator, 613-241-5298.
SEE: CTV Videos, (Apr. 29, 2008)
SEE: Globe and Mail Editorial, “A citizen, whether we like it or not,” (Apr. 30, 2008)
SEE: Globe and Mail, “Terror claims trap Canadian in Khartoum,” (April 28, 2008)
SEE: Globe and Mail, “Terror suspect gets shelter in Sudan, but no trip home,” (April 29, 2008)