Dr. Dawg

Citizen Abousfian Abdelrazik

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The UN Security Council’s so-called “1267 Committee” has officially removed Abousfian Abdelrazik’s name from its “no-fly” blacklist.

This means that our fellow-citizen may now be legally employed in Canada, and friends can buy him a cup of coffee without fear of criminal prosecution. He can fly if he wants, and his family can no longer be refused social benefits by the Quebec government. (In the spirit of Sippenhaft, Quebec went after his children, preventing them from receiving social benefits; while recently removing this ban, it has refused to pay months of withheld benefits to which they are entitled.)

This does not mean, of course, that the vindictive Harper government, which used every trick in the book to keep him from returning to his own country, will give up its single-minded persecution of the man. Despite a groundswell of public support, and the efforts of NDP Foreign Affairs critic Paul Dewar, it stood firm, throwing obstacle after obstacle in his way, denying him his rights as a citizen outside and later inside the country, and roundly denouncing him and his supporters.

As reported by the Globe and Mail’s Paul Koring, who has been all over this story from the start:

For Mr. Abdelrazik, the delisting means his assets - frozen by the Canadian government - will be released and the international travel ban is lifted. However, the Harper government, which refused him a passport for years, may still deny him travel documents. When Lawrence Cannon was foreign minister he called Mr. Abdelrazik a threat to national security. And Citizenship Minister Jason Kenny recently scolded citizens groups supporting Mr. Abdelrazik, a black Muslim, of “treating such people as folk heroes.”

CSIS documents leaked in an apparent government effort to smear Mr. Abdelrazik say he discussed blowing up airliners with other Muslims and that traces of high explosive were found in his car. But despite years of close surveillance, no charges were ever laid and both CSIS and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police wrote formal letters in 2007 to say they had no current files warranting keeping him on the UN terrorist list.

CSIS, for its part, has much to answer for—which is why it probably won’t have to answer for anything. As my co-blogger Alison noted a few days ago, an alleged “investigation” by the Security and Intelligence Review Committee (ostensibly an oversight committee for CSIS) has been mysteriously deep-sixed.

Here’s Paul Koring once again:

Other Canadian government documents, marked “Secret” admit that Mr. Abdelrazik was imprisoned “at our request” when he returned to Sudan in 2003 to visit his ailing mother. In prison, he was interrogated by a CSIS team, who, he says, threatened to make sure he never saw Canada again.

According to Mr. Abdelrazik, he was tortured. But the scars on his torso, according to Canadian Justice Department lawyer (sic), [that would be Anne Turley —DD] could have been caused by self-mutilation as part of a primitive tribal rite.

This sort of racist claptrap has been par for the course from the same government that brought Brenda Martin home in a chartered jet.

Abdelrazik’s $27 million lawsuit against the Harper government is proceeding, and I hope this latest exoneration will make his success even more likely. Meanwhile, to show that not everyone who has and will continue to support him is a Muslim, I’m planning to have a few drinks this evening in celebration.

Bravo, Abousfian. Just—bravo.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on November 30, 2011 8:21 PM.

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