Bring Abdelrazik home
The government of Canada is afraid that when he returns home, Abousfian Abdelrazik will talk.
That is the only possible reason why a Canadian citizen who has been publicly cleared of all suspicion by CSIS, by the RCMP and by the Government of Sudan, is still stranded abroad after six years, living in the lobby of the Canadian Embassy in Khartoum, while our Foreign Minister declares him a threat to public safety and refuses him a passport to return home.
If Canada is a nation of laws, then we cannot stand for this. When Abdelrazik returns home, we should all hope that he follows the lead of Maher Arar and, as publicly as possible, blows open the security structures that allow any Canadian citizen to be treated in this manner.
Abdelrazik was visiting his mother in Sudan in 2003 when CSIS officials asked Sudanese authorities to detain him on terrorism suspicions. Abdelrazik was suspected of some unseemly connections to terrorism suspects in Montreal, and although he was held and interrogated for 11 months (when he claims that he was beaten and tortured, and has the scars to prove it), the Sudanese government released him after concluding that he was an innocent man.
Since then, Canadian authorities repeatedly balked at bringing him home, first by excusing delays because he was placed on the U. S. no-fly list, and later by refusing to issue him travel documents. In the meantime, Abdelrazik was arrested again in 2005, and held for another 10 months before the Sudanese released him, claiming that they could not continue to hold an innocent man. During this period, Canadian consular access was denied, and with Sudan’s human rights record, we can all infer what his second stay in prison may have entailed.
After being released for the second time in 2006, Ottawa signalled to Canadian diplomats that Abdelrazik was not to be issued travel documents. Although there is no black-on-white proof in the public domain, it is not unreasonable to infer that this was because in 2007, the FBI visited Abdelrazik for another interrogation session, once more without Canadian consular support.
By 2008, Abdelrazik began to speak out in public, and by 2009 a public campaign raised money to bring him home and placed pressure on the Canadian government to issue him travel documents. Last Friday, April 3, 2009, six years and 10 days to the date that he arrived in Khartoum, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon stated: “We denied the passport on the basis of national security.”That’s pure nonsense.
If Abdelrazik remains a threat to national security, then why is he living in a Canadian Embassy?
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