The article below reminded me that I have long wanted to do a post on Sudanese-Canadian Abousfian Abdelrazik, the only Canadian on the UN terrorist list--called the 1267 List for the Security Council motion that created it, and described as McCarthyite. As with my post(s) on Omar Khadr, it is difficult to write about Abdelrazik because it is hard to know where to begin and end, and how not to just rage against the dying light of justice.
Whereas Omar Khadr's case is more a "US with the complicity of Canada vs the Geneva Convention and the UN Convention On the Rights of the Child" situation, Abdelrazik's case is more heavily a "Canada with the complicity of the US and the UN vs international justice" case. Both involve torture, or "torture" as detractors prefer.
Amnesty International Petition on behalf of Abousfian Abdelrazik, happier times in Canada. Also from the petition: "The main obstacle to his return home is, surprisingly, the Canadian government."
Although he has never been convicted anywhere of anything, Abousfian Abdelrazik has spent almost 2 years in Sudanese jails, at the request of Canada and the US, the second time with the complicity of the UN terrorist designation (at the request of the US). He has also spent 6 years exiled from Canada--including a year living in the Canadian Embassy in Khartoum--while successive Canadian governments refused to grant him travel documents, or "the right of return" to the adoptive country of which he is a citizen and where he has, or had, a wife (who divorced him while he was in jail), and children.
Abdelrazik was arrested, at the request of the Canadian government, in Sudan, where he was visiting his sick mother in the spring of 2003. He was finally allowed to return to Canada in July 2009. In between, the Sudanese government tortured him as best they could, and finally issued a document for the Canadian government stating they could find nothing to prove his guilt of anything, and please take him back. The US moved to have him put on the UN terrorist list where he has remained, despite any conviction or substantial proof of involvement with Al-Qaeda, as was claimed.
Canada has been particularly egregious in this case, as CSIS, the Canadian "intelligence" agency was involved in his incrimination and torture, along with the CIA. Moreover, Stephen "let the brown people rot in their homeland jails" Harper defied Canadian court rulings to repatriate Abdelrazik, even after both the RCMP and CSIS had cleared him, until forced to allow him back by the highly condemnatory report of Judge Russel Zinn.
The report was notable--not only for its description of Abdelrazik as a "prisoner in a foreign land", and "as much a victim of international terrorism as the innocent persons whose lives have been taken by recent barbaric acts of terrorists"--but also for its description of the UN terrorist 1267 List as "an affront to justice and basic human rights".
Abdelrazik in the courtyard of the Canadian Embassy in Khartoum, 2009
The following are among the Kafka-esque turns of Abdelrazik's case:
--the Canadian government required that Abdelrazik have a pre-paid air ticket before issuing travel documents; however, anyone giving money or air fare to the now destitute Abdelrazik would be prosecuted under Canadian law for financing terrorism;
--the Canadian House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee passed a motion requiring Abdelrazik to testify before the Committee; however, he was in Khartoum at the time, and would require travel documents and air fare to appear before them in Ottawa;
--the Canadian government tried to blame the UN, which clearly stated that Abdelrazik could be repatriated despite being on the list;
--though returned to Canada and "free", Abdelrazik is still on the UN 1267 List, and so is not allowed to work, nor is anyone supposed to aid this "terrorist" financially; now the family benefits to provide for his Canadian child have been cut off, by the Government of the Province of Quebec, where he resides, acting for the Federal Government.
While the article below soft-pedals much of the story, it does point out that Abdelrazik has never been convicted of anything, anywhere. He is however, "paying the price".
Quebec blocks Abdelrazik’s child benefits
WASHINGTON— From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, May. 31, 2011 9:44PM EDT
Last updated Wednesday, Jun. 01, 2011 7:37AM EDT
Quebec has blocked government child-benefit payments to Abousfian Abdelrazik, the only Canadian on the UN’s al-Qaeda blacklist, saying Ottawa must get written permission from the UN Security Council in New York before it will issue the monthly cheques every other Canadian parent is entitled to receive.
“It makes no sense that I have to ask [the UN] in New York for permission to feed my kids,” Mr. Abdelrazik said. He is entitled to $183 a month for a preschool-age son, born in Khartoum but who is a Canadian and was repatriated after Mr. Abdelrazik returned to Montreal. He has also applied for child-benefit payments for his teenage daughter. Another son is in the custody of a former wife and an adult stepdaughter lives with him.
Mr. Abdelrazik has never been charged with a crime in Canada, although he was targeted as a possible al-Qaeda operative and followed by Canadian counterterrorism agents for years. He is the only Canadian on the UN’s terrorist blacklist, called the 1267 list after the number of the Security Council resolution, co-sponsored by Canada, that created it in 1999.
For years, the Canadian government blocked Mr. Abdelrazik’s return to Montreal, saying the UN sanctions allowed it to refuse him a passport. After a federal court judge ruled the government had violated Mr. Abdelrazik’s constitutional right of return, the Harper government allowed Mr. Abdelrazik back into the country in 2009 but kept him on the domestic no-fly list.
Mr. Abdelrazik spent nearly six years in forced exile in Sudan, including more than two years in prison where, he claims, he was tortured.
He is currently suing the federal government and former foreign minister Lawrence Cannon for $27-million, claiming Canadian agents arranged for his imprisonment in Khartoum and were complicit in his torture.
The UN blacklist “violates the most fundamental human rights, indefinitely stripping people of their liberty without trial or charge … and the government in Quebec is going along with it,” said Brian Aboud, a member of Project Fly Home, a Montreal-based group of activists who paid for Mr. Abdelrazik’s ticket home.
Canada’s enforcement of UN 1267 sanctions means Mr. Abdelrazik cannot work – because it would be a crime to pay him – and his assets, including the estate of his former wife who died of cancer, have been seized.
Mr. Abdelrazik has applied to be “delisted” under a new procedure. Canadian jurist and former war crimes tribunal judge Kimberly Prost serves as ombudsperson for delisting applications and is expected to make a recommendation on Mr. Abdelrazik’s application this fall. Even if she urges delisting, any Security Council member state can veto it.
“It’s extremely difficult to have your life entrapped in this kind of a web,” said Paul Champ, the Ottawa lawyer who successfully argued Mr. Abdelrazik’s case in Federal Court.
Mr. Abdelrazik admits that he knew and associated with a number of fellow Muslims living in Montreal in the 1990s, including Ahmed Ressam, the al-Qaeda trained Millennium bomber, apprehended as he headed for Los Angles to blow up its airport. Mr. Abdelrazik, who came to Canada as a political refugee, also says he has visited Pakistan, Bosnia and the Caucasus but only on humanitarian missions. U.S. security agencies accuse him of being an al-Qaeda facilitator and operative.
Your comments, thoughts, impressions?
Omar Khadr: Injustice Served--"You don't like the truth"
With Kouteyba in 2009