Monday, May 04, 2009

Abdelrazik: the sorry saga continues

While the Conservative government stubbornly insists that marooned Canadian Abousfian Abdelrazik may not return home because he would have to travel through the airspace of other countries, a UN official late last week pulled the rug out from under the Harper regime.

Richard Barrett, the UN official responsible for monitoring al-Quaeda, has confirmed that Canada may indeed authorize his return, even if his name is on the UN no-fly list. He emphasized that Abdelrazik is a Canadian citizen, and the government has every right to return him to Canada: the matter, he said, is in the government's hands.

Meanwhile, thanks to Paul Koring at the Globe and Mail, we learn that our secret police, CSIS, have been in this up to their sorry necks from the start. I always thought that their recent claims of being squeaky-clean, and even demanding an investigation of their activities, was protesting a bit too much. Worse, it looks as though they interrogated Abdelrazik on their own hook, keeping Foreign Affairs in the dark.

In any case, even that unsavoury crew has now given him a clean bill of health. The only thing that stands between Abdelrazik and reunion with his family in Canada, it seems is the paranoia--and manifest racism--of the Harper government.

Note: The Globe and Mail ran a wonderful editorial on this case and the rule of law last week (which, I can't help but observe, looks somewhat familiar). The points made are powerful, and are a good summing-up of the disturbing features and consequences of the government's arbitrary and illegal actions.

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