Sat, Apr
4
2009

Dear Stephen Harper: Bring Abousfian Abdelrazik Home, Now.

Sat, Apr 4, 2009

Abdelrazik

Dear Prime Minister Harper,

It is with dismay that I learn that your government has seen fit to deny an emergency passport to Mr. Abousfian Abdelrazik. Indeed, I have been watching in growing disbelief as Mr. Abdelrazik’s mistreatment by your government has reached ludicrous levels, and I am shocked that any government, much less my own, can treat a fellow citizen so poorly.

Mr. Abdelrazik is, as you know, a Canadian citizen who has spent the past six years imprisoned in the Sudan. He went to this country to visit his ailing mother, but was imprisoned by Sudanese officials for unknown reasons and possibly tortured. He is currently living in the lobby of the Canadian embassy in Khartoum, as his attempts to return to his country of citizenship has been thwarted at every turn by your foreign ministry.

We have no clear idea why Mr. Abdelrazik was picked up by Sudanese authorities — if he was flagged by intelligence from CSIS or whathaveyou — but the Sudanese government now claims that he has done nothing wrong and their detaining of him was in error. The RCMP and CSIS have both examined Mr. Abdelrazik’s case and have cleared him of all connections with terrorism or indeed any crime. It seems clear enough that he represents no threat to national security, especially given that he has been allowed to reside in the Canadian embassy for the past year. And yet your government will not let him return home. Indeed, his saga over this past year has taken on the appearance of a cruel game.

Mr. Abdelrazik is a Canadian citizen. He has a wife and children waiting for him in Montreal. To return home, all Mr. Abdelrazik needs is an emergency Canadian passport. To date, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has done the following;

  • Claimed that it could provide an emergency passport if Mr. Abdelrazik could find an airline that would fly him home.

  • When Mr. Abdelrazik found an airline that would fly him home, required that Mr. Abdelrazik provide a fully paid-for airline ticket in advance, in spite of the fact that the man was destitute. Further, the Ministry pointed out that any Canadian who donated money towards the purchase of the ticket could be breaking laws against sending money to terrorist organizations, despite the fact that Mr. Abdelrazik was cleared by the RCMP and CSIS of terrorist connections.

  • When over 100 Canadians defied the law and sent sufficient money to pay for a ticket, your government then required Mr. Abdelrazik to get himself, with less than two weeks notice, off the U.S. and U.N. “no-fly” lists, in spite of the fact that the U.N. Charter clearly allows (requires, even) that people be allowed to fly back to the country of their citizenship.

  • And, finally, as if these broken promises and new obstacles weren’t enough, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote a note to Abdelrazik’s lawyer denying him his travel documents, with no explanation given.

Reading this timeline of events, it is hard not to conclude that your government is engaging in an act of sadism towards this Canadian citizen. Even when the government of Sudan offered to fly him home on a government plane, your government refused the offer.

These unfortunate series of events is a reprehensible act. If you truly believe that Mr. Abdelrazik retains terrorist connections, then he should be brought back to Canada to face trial as a Canadian citizen. If, as the RCMP and CSIS have said, Mr. Abdelrazik has no terrorist connections, then the need for him to be allowed to return home should be obvious. Either way, this case suggests that your government is no longer interested in obeying the rule of law, and that Canadians travelling abroad should be concerned that their government will no longer stand up for them, should they find themselves in trouble.

As late as it is, I call upon you to intervene in this case and return this Canadian home to the family that has been waiting for him these past six years. I call upon all Canadians reading this to write to you and to their Member of Parliament to hold this government account for its shameful dereliction of duty.

Yours sincerely, James Bow


Further Reading


Contact the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lawrence Cannon

Lawrence Cannon
Telephone: (613) 992-5516
Fax: (613) 992-6802 Email: CannoL@parl.gc.ca


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