Salam

23 July 2009

Racism

By Terry Pedwell, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - A Montreal man who spent almost six years exiled in Sudan says he is now effectively a prisoner in Canada.

Abousfian Abdelrazik says he wants those responsible for his ordeal brought to justice, and his name restored.

Abdelrazik remains on a United Nations no-fly list, and the designation carries with it a host of restrictions beyond travel.

"I need my name as soon as possible to be removed from that list," the 47-year-old Sudanese-born man told a news conference Thursday. "To live my life like a normal person, human being, like a normal Canadian."

Abdelrazik returned to Canada late last month after a judge ruled June 4 that the Harper government had breached his constitutional rights by refusing to provide him with the necessary travel documents.

He had been in Sudan since 2003 to visit his ailing mother, but was held for months at a time by Sudanese authorities after being imprisoned on two separate occasions, under suspicion of being linked to terrorist groups. While in jail, his passport expired and he learned he was placed on the UN no-fly list. Both the Mounties and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service have cleared him of any terrorist links, but the Conservative government had refused to issue Abdelrazik an emergency passport to return home because he was on the UN list.

After he was released by the Sudanese with no charges against him, Abdelrazik spent months living at the Canadian consulate in Khartoum. He outlined his ordeal during the news conference, describing how he was tortured by his captors by being tied, beaten, kicked and held in isolation.

He also complained of how his ordeal actually began months before he travelled to Sudan, as CSIS agents continually harassed him and his family, even visiting and questioning his wife until just shortly before she died of cancer.

One CSIS agent who questioned him in Montreal also interrogated him in Sudan, Abdelrazik said, at one point telling him that Sudan would be his "Guantanamo Bay," referring to the U.S. prison in Cuba where alleged terror suspects have been held.

Abdelrazik said he wants those responsible for his detention in Sudan made to answer for their actions. "It is not over," he said defiantly. "I want those people who played this role to face justice, because I don't want this to happen to another person."

Abdelrazik's lawyers say the Montreal man is now living under severe restraints.

He likely will not be able to have a job because anyone giving him money or paying him could be regarded as a criminal.

"Even I cannot receive a small gift from my own family," said Abdelrazik, whose lawyers are calling for an investigation into his ordeal.

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