REALLY? Canada talks the talk, and claims to be a human rights’ world leader. Friendly countries agree. Yes, Canada advocates for people under repressive regimes, and for refugees who depend on the largesse of less than welcoming neighbours, and supports calls for democratic principles where there are few, if any.
But how well does Canada score in protecting the rights of its own citizens? And no, this is not another prison posting. That will resume next time, featuring the prisoner rating system’s discrimination against minorities, a human rights issue to be sure.
With this today, the focus is on Canada’s treatment of Abousfian Abdelrazik, previously referenced in “What does it take…..” from May 20, 2018, and “What’s a screwdriver?” posted October 7 in 2018.
Simply put, Abousfian Abdelrazik, a Sudanese-born Montreal resident and Canadian citizen went back to visit family in Sudan in 2003 and was imprisoned there at the request of the Canadian government who knew he would be tortured in custody. CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) agents interviewed him there about possible terrorist links. There weren’t any and Sudan had no interest in detaining him, claiming Canada could have requested his releasee at any time.
Sudan released Mr. Abdelrazik after a year, and he then spent six years more trying to come home, most often camping out in the Canadian embassy in Khartoum. Canada barred him even though the RCMP and CSIS confirmed formally and in writing they had no reason to suspect he was a terrorist or a threat to national security. Canada would not admit him until a Federal Court here ordered his repatriation. Abousfian Abdelrazik filed a $27 million lawsuit against Canada and has been waiting over 11 years for compensation.
According to the Globe and Mail on Monday, February 15 of this year, Canada…Canadian taxpayers….have spent $9.3 million so far to fight this legal action:-
February 16, 2021
The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Community Safety,
House of Commons,
Re: Abousfian Abdelrazik
So, here we have yet another example of CSIS behaving badly, bringing Canada’s human rights record into disrepute, disrupting the lives of the people to whom it is accountable, and costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars along its destructive warpath.
I’ve been following Mr. Abdelrazik’s journey to justice since it began. How much more beyond the $9.3-million spent to date is the government allocating to contest its responsibility for what it did to this man?
There will be a settlement, just as there was with Maher Arar ($11.5-million), Omar Khadr ($10.5-million), Mssrs. Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati, Muayyed Nureddin ($31.5-million), Benamar Benatta ($1.7-million). And, we have little information on the status of the claims of Djamel Ameziane ($50-million), Hassan Almrei ($16-million) and Adil Charkaoui ($24.5-million). Why wait? Why make us look worse than we do? Why pay attention to Islamophobes, as Paul Champ claims?
And, why too are we not censuring the public servants who are responsible? Why are we not holding them accountable?
Copies of this letter were sent to David Lametti, Minister of Justice and NDP justice critic MP Jack Harris.
Paul Champ is one of Mr. Abdelrazik’s lawyers. And yes, as the letter concluded, there are Canadian public servants who are responsible for this injustice to a Canadian citizen. Are they not accountable for violating this man’s human rights?
This is only one very public instance of Canada’s careless treatment of one of its own. What else might there be swept under a carpet in some bureaucrat’s office, or hidden behind closed doors or high walls?
Okay, now to get back to the matter of prisons.