Friday, April 10, 2009

Abdelrazik's exile: geography to blame, says government

The Conservative government late yesterday presented its factum in court defending its decision to keep Abousfian Abdelrazik in perpetual exile in Khartoum.
Le Devoir reporter Hélène Buzzetti can barely contain herself, and no wonder, regarding what she describes as the "twisted geographical logic" employed by Justice Department lawyers.

Briefly, it's their argument that the exemption in the UN "no-fly" list that permits anyone on it to return to his or her country of citizenship applies only at the border of that country. It does not permit such a person to enter any other country. And that includes, the Justice Department claims, the airspace of those countries too. Hence, because the world is divided up into countries (as
Buzzetti puts it), he is prevented by UN regulations from flying back home because he'd be overflying some of them!

Buzzetti notes that this logic was contradicted just last week, when the UN granted an exemption to a Somalian on the list who had been stranded in the UK,
permitting him to return to Somalia.

The government also sought to cast doubt on Abdelrazik's claims of being tortured. As we all know, the Omar al-Bashir regime in Sudan are gentle folk who would never do any such thing.

Earlier in the day,
Lawrence Cannon, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, reacted with annoyance when Buzzetti asked if Abdelrazik was being punished simply for worshipping at the same Montreal mosque as convicted terrorist Ahmed Ressam (in whose case he had appeared as a prosecution witness in 2005). "Above all I believe the United Nations," he said. He claimed to have a "reasonable suspicion" that Abdelrazik poses a danger to national security, even though neither the RCMP nor CSIS have a file on him. And he refused to say if he would help Abdelrazik get off the list.

"The Trial", as Chris Selley calls this Kafkaesque saga, continues. The parties are due in court on May 7 as Abdelrazik's lawsuit begins. And with every word our government utters, the more wretched and shameful its on-going behaviour appears.

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