The Abdelarazik (Sudan) case and the Iacobucci Inquiry

There have been a number of articles about the case of a Canadian citizen in Sudan who was imprisoned in the Sudan at the request of Canadian authorities it seems and whose return to Canada is being sabotaged by his own government. Here is a snippet from a recent Globe and Mail article:

" Officially, Mr. Abdelrazik has been told by Canadian diplomats he's welcome to go home. But his efforts to return have been stymied at every step by Canada's refusal to issue him a passport, the claim that they can do nothing about his "no-fly" status, and perhaps most startlingly, by thwarting offers by Sudan to fly him back to Canada.



The document trail obtained by The Globe ends in early 2006, but Mr. Abdelrazik's limbo continues. He remains under police surveillance in Khartoum. He makes frequent visits to the Canadian embassy, which has been doling him out $100 a month from a special fund for distressed citizens. He's being allowed to telephone his family in Montreal, but the embassy hasn't issued him a passport or travel documents, which could hold the key to his return.



At the same time, he is a Canadian citizen facing no charges, and in a world of unsubstantiated security targeting, a suspected terrorist believed to be so dangerous that he must be kept out of North America.



The trove of documents makes clear that the "highest levels" of both the past Liberal and the current Conservative governments were kept fully informed of Mr. Abdelrazik's case and concurred in its handling. More recently, Mr. Abdelrazik's lawyers sent letters to Prime Minister Stephen Harper demanding his intervention. Last month, officials from Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier's office met with Mr. Abdelrazik in Khartoum.



Late last week, The Globe and Mail sent the Harper government written questions concerning Mr. Abdelrazik's case, including asking why the government had decided to deny a Canadian citizen a passport and had failed to repatriate him. No replies have been received from Mr. Bernier's office.



Documents make it clear one of Ottawa's biggest concerns was the potential political furor if the case became public. Briefing notes, cleared by CSIS and the intelligence sections of Foreign Affairs, were prepared to carefully coach ministers. They include carefully worded replies to questions about whether Canadian authorities shared intelligence about Mr. Abdelrazik with the Sudanese or U.S. governments, whether Canada was the originator of information that resulted in on him being placed on "no-fly" lists and how to respond if asked about parallels to Maher Arar's case, in which another Canadian originally fingered by CSIS ended up being tortured in a Syrian prison."

The same putrid policy has been consistently followed by both Liberal and Conservative governments. The Arar case showed how clueless and uncareful the CSIS and RCMP(in particular were). Parallels are drawn between the two cases. However, there are even more similarities with the three cases being investigated by the Iacobucci Inquiry. So secretive and out of the media limelight is the Inquiry that so far I have not even seen mention of this parallel. Here is the preamble to the terms of reference of the Iacobucci Inquiry:
"whether the detention of Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou-Elmaati and Muayyed Nureddin in Syria or Egypt resulted, directly or indirectly, from actions of Canadian officials, particularly in relation to the sharing of information with foreign countries and, if so, whether those actions were deficient in the circumstances,

whether there were deficiencies in the actions taken by Canadian officials to provide consular services to Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou-Elmaati and Muayyed Nureddin while they were detained in Syria or Egypt, and

whether any mistreatment of Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou-Elmaati and Muayyed Nureddin in Syria or Egypt resulted, directly or indirectly, from actions of Canadian officials, particularly in relation to the sharing of information with foreign countries and, if so, whether those actions were deficient in the circumstances;"


All of these three were imprisoned in Syria or in one case Egypt seemingly on information provided by Canadian authorities and all seem to have been interrogated using questions supplied by Canadian intelligence. Iacobucci should be investigating this case as well but he won't since his mandate is too narrow. Iacobucci is to report in September after an extension of time from January.

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