I am pleased to learn that the Canadian government will comply with the court order and no longer stand in the way of Abousfian Abdelrazik’s return to Canada. That it took this long is simply shameful, but it’s still good news, even if I won’t be fully satisfied until he steps off a plane onto Canadian soil and is reunited with his children.
What we need now is a full public inquiry investigating the faulty intelligence that one of our security services is alleged to have given Sudan six years ago, which started Mr. Abdelrazik’s epic ordeal in the first place. Who said what to whom, where and why? Until we see this through to its bitter end, and lay out everything in the open, our faith in the agencies we’ve charged with protecting us will continue to be tarnished.
I’d like to thank Dr. Dawg for following this case early on. Without his posts, I would not have known about Mr. Abdelrazik’s predicament. I’d also like to thank those posters who came at this issue from across the political spectrum, including libertarian Chris Selley and Conservative supporter Raphael Alexander. These posts did much to show that the issue went beyond partisanship, and was something that all Canadians needed to be concerned about.
And unfortunately these posts did stand out. Reading over the comments section of news posts here and elsewhere can be a discouraging experience. Seeing the racist vitriol that gets expressed, by people who initially cheered on Mr. Harper’s violation of the rule of law, who called Mr. Abdelrazik a terrorist despite there being no credible evidence of such a thing, who called Mr. Abdelrazik a ‘Canadian of Convenience’, makes me worry for the future of my country. I have to wonder if these people have to work hard to be this ignorant and hateful, and just how loathesome are they in real life?
Just the look on this guy’s face makes me worry and the fact that our spineless government are allowing him back into this country make me worry even more.
So another “Canadian” (of convenience) gets his right to return “home”. Why would you write one word supporting this piece of rubbish while Canadians are dying fighting the Islamic filth he represents. In 2003 he “returned to Sudan to visit his sick mother.” Give me a break. His wife divorced him. So should Canada.
Where does one begin with this? These people believe that Mr. Abdelrazik is a ‘Canadian of Convenience’ all because he returned to the Sudan to bury his dead mother and close out her estate? These guys have tried and convicted him in their own minds without any evidence but their own hate. They’re just one step removed from vigilantism, frankly, and they have as much respect for the rule of law as the terrorists they’re so afraid of.
It is unChristian of me to wish harm on these people, but I cannot help that those who would condemn a man to six years in exile based on their own prejudices get a taste of their own medicine. Let them go abroad, get into trouble, and have their government fail to protect their rights as citizens. Let their motives be questioned. Let their character be impugned by ignorant folk back home. Let them be called a ‘Canadian of convenience’.
Until then, I hope that Mr. Abdelrazik sues the Canadian government and wins compensation. I’ll be happy to pay my share of his settlement through my taxes, smiling in the knowledge that these ingrates will have to pay their share as well. Because this is the price you pay for a country that treats all of its citizens equally, and offers protection of people’s rights for all citizens, regardless of their place of birth.
Since I wrote this post, some more information has come out, specifically a series of memos that suggest that the United States government might have asked the Canadian government back in 2006 for information about Mr. Abdelrazik, and possibly assistance in his extradition to the United States. Dr. Dawg again has more details.
For some people, the timing of the release of these memos suggests something of a smear job, but I think we might also be getting some explanation of why the governments acted the way they did, even though they were still acting inappropriately. In his words:
We know, of course, that the US wanted information from Canada to help prosecute Abdelrazik under the lower standards employed by the Americans in such cases. But there is no evidence that the Canadian authorities had any such information to provide—it appears not, since no prosecution was ever launched.
Some of the information suggests an allegation by Abu Zubaydah, extracted under torture. That alone has to make the allegations suspect. Again, in Dawg’s words:
Zubaydah apparently implicated Abdelrazik in something. Omar Khadr, under torture in Guantanamo, implicated Maher Arar, too. But that story soon fell apart. Torture induces narratives, but they tend, in reality, to be the narratives of the torturer.
So, a smoking gun explaining why successive Canadian governments subjected Mr. Abdelrazik to his ordeal? A smear job to protect the current government as Mr. Abdelrazik comes home? Both? As you can see, this story is one that I think we’ll be following for months to come.