Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Opposition parties unite on Abdelrazik

A press release today:

“Bring Abdelrazik Home”
Opposition Parties call for Government to End Kafkaesque Spiral for Canadian Stranded in Sudan: “The Charter of Rights and Freedoms Compels It”
Ottawa, March 31, 2009 – Representatives from the three opposition parties joined together to call for the Canadian government to bring home its citizen, Abousfian Abdelrazik.
Mr. Cotler said: “Mr. Abdelrazik has spent nearly six years in Sudan and suffered torture while being wrongfully imprisoned on two occasions by Sudanese officials. Evidence has now come to light that Canada may even have played a role in his illegal detention.
“Both CSIS and the RCMP have cleared Mr. Abdelrazik. The government has disclosed no reason to suspect he constitutes a security threat. In these circumstances, international law expressly allows for Mr. Abdelrazik’s return to Canada, and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms compels it. The government needs to bring Mr. Abdelrazik home.”
Abousfian Abdelrazik is a Sudanese Canadian who has not been permitted to leave Sudan since visiting his ailing mother in 2003. He was twice detained and released by Sudanese officials without being charged. He has spent the last 11 months living in the lobby of the Canadian embassy, as the government has denied him a passport to return to home.
The Canadian government recently promised Mr. Abdelrazik his necessary travel documents if he could secure a ticket home. Through the generosity of Canadians, a ticket for Mr. Abdelrazik was indeed bought for April 3. But with his travel date just days away, the government continues to deny Mr. Abdelrazik his passport.
Cotler added: “There is nothing in fact or in law to justify the denial of this citizen’s re-entry into Canada. Mr. Abdelrazik is caught in a Kafkaesque spiral in which the government offers no legitimate reason to deny him a passport, yet continues to do so. Like any Canadian, Mr. Abdelrazik has the right to come back home.”

But are the parties serious? Talk is cheap. I would be amazed if former human rights advocate Michael Ignatieff--who has avoided, you will notice, all comment on the topic--is willing to take the Parliamentary measures required to repatriate Abdelrazik.

April 3--Abdelrazik's departure date--is three days away. He still doesn't have his travel documents. Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, deliberately flouting the law, has made it effectively impossible for him to return to Canada.

Put up or shut up, Liberals. Are you willing to force the government's hand in the House of Commons with the appropriate motion? Or is this just more hot air?

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