Paul Koring reports in today’s Globe and Mail that an intrepid Canadian jurist, Kimberly Prost, has been appointed as a UN ombudsman to oversee the infamous “1267” no-fly list and adjudicate requests for de-listing.
One Canadian citizen has already applied. Abousfian Abdelrazik should need no introduction here: exiled by the Canadian government for six years and returned to this country by judicial order, he has been living ever since in what Koring calls a “twilight zone.” He is not permitted to work, to travel, to have assets or to be given financial assistance.
Were these strictures carried out to the letter, of course, he would have starved to death by now. Grudgingly, the federal authorities have released a small monthly living allowance from his seized assets. And a coalition across the country, defying the government, has provided token employment and financial aid for the past several months.
But Abdelrazik remains an “unperson,” the very model of Franz Kafka’s “K,” perpetually on trial, unable to defend himself. He walks among us, but has been singled out—Giorgio Agamben’s “homo sacer,” possessing only “bare life.”
A multi-million dollar lawsuit has already been launched against the Harper regime and names specifically the disreputable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lawrence Cannon, for exiling Abdelrazik. Nor will his current unperson status withstand a Charter challenge. But in the meantime, the new ombudsman at the UN might offer a way out for him.
Might. This one wants watching.