Letter Writing in Support of Abousfian Abdelrazik

Tuesday May 17, 7-9pm
Crow's Nest, Roberts Street Social Centre
5684 Roberts Street

Dinner (Veggie Chili and other snacks) will be served
for a donation of $5-$10 with proceeds going to support
the delegation in support of Abdelrazik


Join us for a letter-writing event in support of Abousfian Abdelrazik in his bid to remove his name from the UN 1267 No Fly List. Abdelrazik was detained, beaten and threatened while on a visit to Sudan on the advice of CSIS. Despite having his name cleared and being released of all suspicion by both Canadian and Sudanese officials, his name remains on the UN 1267 list, which imposes a travel ban and an asset freeze on individuals. This June, a delegation of community supporters will seek to meet with the Chair of the 1267 committee in New York to deliver messages in support of Abdelrazik.

We will be gathering for a fun, sociable evening to write support letters to send with the delegation to New York. More information will be available about Abdelrazik's case at the event. We will also be selling dinner to raise money in support of the delegation, and accept donations from anyone who wishes to break the sanctions against Abdelrazik.

Hosted by No One Is Illegal-Halifax



Abousfian Abdelrazik - like Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati, Muayyed
Nureddin and Maher Arar, other victims of a Canadian programme of
outsourcing torture - was, according to documents released by the
Department of Foreign Affairs, jailed on the recommendation of the
Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) while on a visit to Sudan.

Never charged, he was beaten, threatened and tortured during two periods
of detention. In this context, Abdelrazik was interrogated by CSIS
officials, and separately by Sudanese and French intelligence agents and
the FBI. The Canadian embassy was instructed by the Canadian government
that: "Mission staff should not accompany Abdelrazik to his interview with
the FBI."

Eventually released and cleared of all suspicion by Sudan, and even by the
RCMP and CSIS in late 2007, his many attempts to return home to Montreal
were repeatedly blocked.

In 2006, Abdelrazik's name was placed on the UN 1267 list by the Bush
administration. The 1267 list imposes a travel ban, an arms embargo and a
total asset freeze on listed individuals. Abdelrazik was not told that he
was being placed on the list, was not told why he was on the list, and was
given no opportunity to defend himself. As Federal Court Judge Russel Zinn
was to write later in Abdelrazik's case, "There is nothing in the (1267)
listing or de-listing procedure that recognizes the principles of natural
justice or that provides for basic procedural fairness."

Under a complete asset freeze and a travel ban, Abdelrazik became
destitute and, more than ever, needed the assistance of the Canadian
government to come home. But they did not help. Conservative MP Deepak
Obhrai, then Parliamentary Secretary to Prime Minister Harper, in Sudan on
an official visit in March 2008, asked to meet with Abdelrazik. But
instead of helping him, Obhrai and another Canadian official only
interrogated him about his political beliefs: his views of Israel, Hamas
and Bin Laden.

Finally, in an attempt to draw attention to his plight, Abdelrazik went
public with his story in April 2008 and was granted "temporary safe haven"
in the Canadian Embassy in Khartoum. He remained there for fourteen months
as Canadian officials continued to find ways of keeping him out of the

In December 2008, Canadian officials wrote that Abdelrazik must present a
fully-paid-for plane ticket before Passport Canada would agree to issue an
emergency passport. At the same time, the government was aware that
Abdelrazik was destitute and took the position that anyone who paid for
his ticket could be charged under section 3 of the United Nations Al Qaida
and Taliban Regulations (which implement the 1267 list in Canada and state
that no Canadian shall "provide or collect by any means, directly or
indirectly, funds with the intention that the funds be used" by a person
on the UN list).

In March 2009, over one hundred people joined together to buy a plane
ticket home for Abdelrazik, despite the risk of being charged. (People
continued to contribute - from March to June 2009, about 250 people from
all parts of Canada and all walks of life contributed to the solidarity
fund in open defiance of the government's position.)

The ticket was set for 3 April. However, just hours before the flight took
off, Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, refused the emergency
passport Abdelrazik needed to board the flight. On 4 June, the Federal
Court's Justice Russel Zinn found that Lawrence Cannon's action was
abusive and in violation of Abdelrazik's rights, and ordered the
government to repatriate Abdelrazik without delay (see court order here).
Forced into a corner, the government had no choice but to comply. On 27
June 2009, Abdelrazik returned to Montreal and was reunited with his
family at last.

Abdelrazik now faces the second phase of his struggle: to seek
accountability (bringing those responsible to justice, making sure this
doesn't happen again to anyone else); and to get his name off the UN's
1267 list - that is, getting his life back to normal.

The last aspect is the most immediately urgent. Regulations implementing
this list in Canada (the United Nations Al Qaida and Taliban Regulations)
prohibit anyone from providing Abdelrazik with any material aid -
including salary, loans of any amount, food or clothing--even health