* winter morning blues
Listen to an audio statement from Abousfian Abdelrazik on April 1st, 2009 by clicking the play button below. You can download the MP3 here.
featuring Rebecca Foon on cello, Radwan Moumneh on buzuq, Peter Burton on contrabass, Norman Nawrocki on violin, Sam Shalabi on oud and Stefan Christoff on piano.
Duets for Abdelrazik is a cultural project aiming to express musical solidarity for the struggle of Abousfian Abdelrazik, a Canadian jailed on the recommendation of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) in Sudan. It is difficult to describe in words both the horror of torture but also the sustained determination of Abdelrazik in his struggle for justice. Montreal artists recorded Duets for Abdelrazik in an attempt to illuminate Abdelrazik's struggle.
Advance tickets available at the following locations
Casa Del Popolo / Sala Rossa / Sala Office
Tél. : 514-284-0122
364-B Rue Sherbrooke
2044 Metcalfe St. 2e étage
Tél : 514-844-8988
4333 rue Rivard
info on Howl! arts collective at:
On June 16th, 2011, a seven-person delegation, acting in solidarity with Abousfian Abdelrazik, met with a representative of the German Mission to the United Nations (Germany currently chairs the 1267-Committee) and representatives of the 1267 Monitoring Team. The delegation travelled to New York to support Abdelrazik's five-year struggle to have his name removed from the Security Council's "1267" blacklist.
During the almost two-hour meeting, the delegates, most of whom knew Abdelrazik personally, stressed the urgency of removing him from the list and pointed out the obvious inconsistencies of the blacklisting regime with the founding principles of the United Nations as articulated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; including, the right to freedom and a fair trial, the prohibition on torture (false information obtained under torture is believed to have been used against Abdelrazik) and rights to security of the person, to earn a living, and to free association.
The delegates argued that the blacklist should be abolished, not simply reformed. They were able to convey the fact that people are increasingly aware of the issue and that mounting numbers of organizations and individuals are calling for the regime to be scrapped.
The diplomatic reserve of the UN officials was briefly ruffled when they were suddenly brought face-to-face with Abdelrazik via a personal video message, in which he invited those present, "and the rest of the committee to walk in my shoes. I invite you to come to live with me for one day ... I am sure this is going to touch you, because you are human beings. Please, I have suffered enough. I want to end this suffering." As the spokesperson for the 1267-Committee remarked, it was good to be reminded that there are real human beings involved.
Asked for a response that delegates could bring back to Abdelrazik, the 1267-Committee spokesperson asked Abdelrazik to trust in the delisting process. As Karl Flecker, National Director of the Anti-Racism and Human Rights Department of the Canadian Labour Congress and one of the delegates, explained to media after the meeting, "What that means for Abousfian is that he has to, once again, trust the people who have had control over his life for the last five years. And to wait longer for justice. We cannot acquiesce to the hope for modest reforms to something that has fundamental injustice."
After the press briefing, the delegates were joined outside the gates of the UN by supporters from New York and a fabulous marching band, the Rude Mechanical Orchestra:
It was clear from the meeting that the 1267-Committee is feeling international pressure and hoped to relieve some of that pressure by introducing a few modest reforms. Indeed, the meeting took place on the eve of a Security Council meeting where reforms to the blacklisting regime, as well as the political imperative of removing the Taliban from the list (in order to advance a negotiated deal in Afghanistan), were due to be discussed. However, in the end, the reforms adopted by the Security Council to the 1267 delisting process on June 17th, in resolution 1989, failed to make any significant progress towards justice. In essence, instead of 15 states having an unconditional veto over a delisting request, now only five do (the five permanent members of the security council).
The delisting caravan was a focal point for support for Abdelrazik and for mounting opposition to the UN 1267-blacklist and to blacklisting schemes in general. The delegation was composed of spokespeople from seven diverse organizations: Emilie Breton, Project Fly Home; Dolores Chew, South Asian Women's Community Centre (SAWCC); Karl Flecker, Canadian Labour Congress; Pierre Jasmin, Artists for Peace; Nicole Leach, Regina Solidarity Group; James Loney, Christian Peacemaker Teams; and Sameer Zuberi, Canadian Muslim Forum. Each were backed by an extensive network from very different sectors of society.
In addition, the delegates delivered a letter to the 1267-Committee, calling for Abdelrazik to be delisted and for an end to the 1267-Regime, co-signed by almost 100 organizations across Canada, collectively involving millions of people: student groups, human rights organizations, faith-based organizations, labour unions, community groups, NGOs and more. These organizations were joined by American allies, including the AFL-CIO - the main American labour umbrella, with 12.2 million members - and the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), in calling for Abdelrazik to be delisted and the 1267-List to be scrapped.
The blacklist spokesperson also received a stack of letters from individuals across Canada, most of whom had donated to Abdelrazik in open defiance of the sanctions imposed on him. The letters offer a snapshot of the diversity and strength of support for justice for Abdelrazik across the country.
The delegation was preceded by events in Vancouver, Calgary, Regina, Ottawa, Kitchener and Halifax, including two sanctions-busting events, as well as a press conference in Montreal and a caravan to the border to see the delegation off. The initiative resulted in broadly sympathetic media coverage - in Canada and internationally - and editorials calling for Abdelrazik to be delisted.
Select media coverage of the delegation:
Please stay in touch with Project Fly Home as we continue to work in solidarity with Abdelrazik and to oppose this international blacklist. In the meantime, there are a range of ways in which you can support Abdelrazik's campaign to get off the international blacklist and register your opposition to political repression.
Hey, hey! Ho ho! 1267 has got to go ...
Press briefing on the results of the delegation's meeting with the 1267-Committee representative: NOON on June 16th, 2011 in front of the United Nations' visitors' entrance (close to 1st and East 45th).
In solidarity with Abousfian Abdelrazik, Project Fly Home is organizing a delegation to New York to visit the people who oversee the UN Security Council's blacklisting regime. This is a critical time in Abdelrazik's struggle for justice. Abdelrazik submitted a delisting request to the Security Council in January and could get a reply as early as September. Meanwhile, court hearings in Abdelrazik's constitutional challenge to the regulations implementing the 1267 regime in Canada are expected to open early in the fall. This is also a critical time in Canada to challenge the politics of fear and racism and all forms of political, social and economic repression, opposing them with our hope and solidarity.
QPIRG McGill (Project Fly Home) 3647 University St., 3rd Floor Montreal, Quebec H3A 2B3
Dolores Chew is a founding member of the South Asian Women’s Community Centre (SAWCC), a service, support and advocacy organization for South Asian Women and their families in the Montreal area. This year, the SAWCC is celebrating its 30th anniversary. She is also an educator, being a professor in a Montreal area college for the past 20 years.
“The reasons that I am part of the delegation to the UN in New York to request that Abousfian Abdelrazik be de-listed from the sanctions list are personal and organizational. As someone who came to Canada as an immigrant, I am aware through my experiences and those of my family how precarious one’s life can be; that there is a certain element of insecurity. I have been a Canadian citizen for many years, but the experiences of Abousfian bring home to me how fragile is that sense of security. SAWCC, the organization I am part of, works with migrants and refugees who seek to build a better life in Canada. However the potential violation of their rights, where, through no fault of their own, they could end up on something like the UN’s sanctions list are nightmarish. I hope that the delegation from Canada will be successful in bringing the voices of ordinary Canadians to the UN in support and solidarity with Abousfian; that the UN sanctions committee will hear these concerns and will de-list our friend and fellow Canadian, Abousfian.”
Émilie Breton est membre du Projet Retour au bercail depuis 2009, alors qu'elle a fait partie de la centaine de personnes qui ont acheté un billet d'avion à M. Abderlazik. Elle étudie à la maitrise en science politique est travaille dans un groupe de recherche à l'Université Concordia.
« Nous voyageons à New York, car nous voulons être certains ceux qui ont le pouvoir de le radier de la liste – les membres du Conseil de sécurité – soient conscients du nombre de personnes et d’organisations au Canada qui, non seulement se soucient de la situation d’Abousfian, mais qui sont clairement opposés à l’existence même de listes dites préventives dont les objectifs sont bien plus politiques que pratiques ».
Karl Flecker is the National Director, Anti-Racism and Human Rights Department, for the Canadian Labour Congress. He has a strong background in adult education and training, as well as considerable experience working with equity-seeking groups. Karl has written numerous articles on trade agreements, migration policy, workers’ rights and equity issues. He has worked with policy research and action organizations like the Polaris Institute based in Canada and worked internationally with community, union and social justice groups in South Africa, India, Asia and the Americas who are creatively addressing the challenges that are impacting worker and community rights.
Pierre Jasmin. Président des Artistes pour la Paix (www.artistespourlapaix.org), membre du Mouvement Sortons le Québec du Nucléaire, des Conférences internationales sur la science et les affaires mondiales Pugwash et de l’exécutif du Réseau canadien pour l’abolition de l’arme nucléaire, Pierre Jasmin enseigne d’abord à l’Université Queen’s pour devenir ensuite professeur titulaire à l’Université du Québec à Montréal. Diplômé d’institutions supérieures de six pays (Conservatoire de Moscou 1978, Hochschule für Musik de Vienne 1976, University of Southern California 1973, London Royal College of Music 1971, McGill Gold medal of the minister of Education 1970), le pianiste offre de nombreux récitals notamment en République Tchèque, en Allemagne, en Croatie. Il joue en 1995 et 2007 pour le maire de Hiroshima, participe à une Caravane pour la paix au Tibet en 1993 et joint une Flottille de paix humanitaire, donnant pour des réfugiés de guerre tout au long des côtes croates et slovènes des concerts filmés par la télévision de Radio-Canada (Le Point, Action de Grâces 1994). Le grand public le remarque lors d’émissions à CFCF, Eurovision, Radio-Canada, Télémédia, Télé- Québec, Télévision Nationale Tchèque, Télévision Quatre-Saisons et TV5, ainsi que dans le film Nos derniers jours à Moscou (Duckworth, ONF 1987), primé au Festival international des Films sur l'Art de Montréal. Auteur de musicographies pour Deutsche Grammophon/Universal Classics et de Notes d’espoir d’un « joueur de piano » aux éditions Triptyque (finaliste « livre de l’année » Opus 2007 du Conseil Québécois de la Musique), il co-fonde le Centre Pierre-Péladeau qui accueille ses récitals de Bach et Chopin (CD Musiqam 2002 et 2011), Beethoven et Mozart (intégrales de leurs sonates).
“Mon nom est Pierre Jasmin, professeur titulaire à l’UQAM et président des Artistes pour la Paix. Mes ancêtres, tant paternels que maternels, sont arrivés au pays il y a environ quatre cents ans, sur des bateaux de bois, réfugiés économiques de Bretagne et du Poitou. Je trouve injustes les discriminations contre les immigrants plus récents, je les trouve carrément révoltantes lorsque leur religion ou couleur de peau autre les amène à être davantage suspects aux yeux des autorités : cela arrive aussi à nos réfugiés de l’intérieur, nos amis amérindiens. Un peu de compassion, comme le réclamait récemment la danseuse Margie Gillis! Aujourd’hui, nous sommes scandalisés par le traitement réservé à M. Abousifian Abdelrazik, au Soudan comme ici à Montréal, alors qu’il a été innocenté des charges qui pesaient contre lui. C’est pourquoi nous allons demain à New York (ONU) pour demander que son nom soit rayé de la liste 1267, une invention du Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU qui contrevient aux lois.”
Nicole Leach is an activist based out of Regina, Saskatchewan, which is located on Treaty Four Territory. Currently, Nicole is an organizer with the Regina Solidarity Group. The Regina Solidarity Group is committed to engaging in and supporting anti-colonial struggles at home and abroad. The Regina Solidarity Group opposes all forms of oppression and discrimination including those based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality and ability.
“The right to fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal is an essential right, as can be seen through its inclusion in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, and fundamental in ensuring the proper administration of justice in any society. Any policy or procedure or law that imposes consequences of any kind, but especially to the extent of the sanctions enacted against individuals placed on the 1267 list, that does not require a fair and public hearing is an afront to the proper administration of justice and should not be tolerated.”
James Loney is a Toronto-based writer, peace activist and member of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). CPT is an international violence-reduction organization that places teams trained in nonviolent intervention in lethal conflict zones. With teams currently working in Colombia, the West Bank, Kurdish Iraq and Aboriginal communities in Ontario, CPT supports the efforts of grassroots communities affected by violence to work for the transformation of armed conflict through the power of nonviolence. While leading a CPT delegation in Iraq in 2005, Loney and three others were taken hostage at gunpoint by Iraqi insurgents and held for four months. One member of the group, American Tom Fox, was killed two weeks before the other three were released. Loney recently published a memoir about his experiences in Iraq. Entitled Captivity, it is his account of what is likely the most publicized kidnapping of the Iraq War.
"The 1267 List arbitrarily violates many of the most basic rights named in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the cornerstone of international law and one of the highest expressions of human conscience in our time. As a leading UN body, the Security Council must lead by example. Either the 1267 List is brought into conformity with international law and operates according to due legal process, or it must be abolished altogether."
Sameer Zuberi is a board member of the Canadian Muslim Forum and a UQAM law student. For the past decade he has been heavily involved in the defence of human rights and is active in several civil society organizations. Sameer formerly worked at the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) where he dealt with two Federal Commissions of Inquiry, the O’Connor Commission and the Iacobucci Inquiry, that looked into the mistreatment of four Canadians, Maher Arar, Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou-Elmaati and Muayyed Nureddin. The Commissions of Inquiry cleared men of any wrong doing, determined they were tortured overseas and found Canadian officials were complicit their mistreatment. Sameer also testified in front of Canadian Parliamentary and Senate committees on security certificates, and advocated for an overhaul of the legislation.
“Abousfian Abdelrazik belongs to a list of Canadians who have been tortured overseas as a result of overzealous security practices. Abdelrazik’s ordeal is similar to that of Maher Arar, Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou-Elmaati and Muayyed Nureddin. Commissions of Inquiry have cleared the latter four of any wrong doing, just as Canada's two security agencies cleared Mr. Abdelrazik of any involvement in criminal activities. However, Abdelrazik remains trapped in limbo by the 1267 list. The wide security net that is cast over Canadian Muslims sends a dangerous and inaccurate message of fear and mistrust. The result, Canadian Muslims are made to feel like fifth columns in their own homes. This situation is neither sustainable, nor healthy for society."
In solidarity with Abousfian Abdelrazik, Project Fly Home is organizing a delegation to New York to visit the people who oversee the UN Security Council's blacklisting regime. A solidarity caravan will tour Montreal and then accompany the delegation to the US border, before returning to Montreal. All are welcome to join the colourful, joyful caravan to oppose racism, torture and political repression and express strong solidarity with our fellow Montrealer.
Abdelrazik's name was arbitrarily placed on the Security Council's blacklist in 2006, just after he was released from a second term of arbitrary detention and torture. Ever since, he has been subject to severe and indefinite sanctions, including an asset freeze and an international travel ban.
This is a critical time in Abdelrazik's struggle for justice. Abdelrazik submitted a delisting request to the Security Council in January and could get a reply as early as September. Meanwhile, court hearings in Abdelrazik's constitutional challenge to the regulations implementing the 1267 regime in Canada are expected to open early in the fall.
This is also a critical time in Canada to challenge the politics of fear and racism and all forms of political, social and economic repression, opposing them with our hope and solidarity.
QPIRG McGill (Project Fly Home) 3647 University St., 3rd Floor Montreal, Quebec H3A 2B3
More details: email@example.com
Come together to support the Delegation to New York in support of Abdelrazik. The event will feature an update on Abdelrazik's struggle, an opportunity to express solidarity with the delegation that will be going to New York in support of Abdelrazik, and of course - breakfast!
More more information, please contact The Calgary Committee in Support of Abousfian Abdelrazik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rain or Shine! We'll be under the shelter if it's raining.
Join us for a pay-what-you-can barbecue picnic in support of Abousfian Abdelrazik. Delicious veggie and Halal meat bbq fare by donation. Bring your own reusable dishes if you can.
Accessibility: The picnic area is accessible by wheelchair from the Park parking lots. Washrooms are wheelchair accessible. Please contact us if you have any questions.
We will be accepting donations in active defiance of the UN 1267 sanctions regime. According to federal law, anyone who contributes money to Mr Abdelrazik risks prosecution. Join the hundreds of individuals and labour unions who have decided to openly defy the unjust sanctions by making a donation to Mr. Abdelrazik (see full list of supporters).
Donations will go directly to support Mr Abdelrazik as well as his delisting delegation. Community members will be traveling to the UN in New York this June to demand his removal from the UN 1267 list.
For more information about the event contact: email@example.com
The Regina Solidarity Group will be hosting a steak night fundraiser on June 7th, 2011, from 5 pm to 8 pm at Bushwakker Brewpub in Regina (2206 Dewdney Avenue). The proceeds of the fund-raiser will cover the costs of the Regina delegate to the Project Fly Home delegation to New York. All welcome to join!
You are invited to a delisting party in support of Abousfian Abdelrazik.
Where: 4 Oakland Ave, Ottawa, ON, K1S 2T2
When: 7:30, Saturday, June 4
What: Wine and Cheese, Letter Writing in support of delegation to New York, Summary of legal situation by Paul Champ, Abousfian's lawyer
Come to the Wine and Cheese Party to hear about a delegation that is going to New York in support of Abdelrazik. An update on the legal situation will also be provided. Supplies and samples will be available to write a letter of support that the delegation will deliver to the UN committee that oversees the blacklist that Abdelrazik is on. Donations to support the delegation will be gratefully accepted.
RSVP to jo_wood -at- sympatico.ca or 613 565 5959.
Cost: $20 per ticket
Accessibility info: Grandview Calvary Baptist Church's kitchen's entrance is at street level, which gives access to washrooms, kitchen and lower hall. The women's washroom has a stall that can accommodate a wheelchair. The washroom door opening is 86 cm, and the stall door is 61 cm.
Please join us in a fundraiser to support Abousfian Abdelrazik, in active defiance of the UN 1267 sanctions regime. According to federal law implementing the 1267 sanctions regime anyone who contributes money to Mr Abdelrazik risks federal prosecution. Join the hundreds of individuals and labour unions who have decided to openly defy the unjust sanctions by making a donation to Mr. Abdelrazik (view the full list).
This is a ticketed event: $20 per ticket.
Your donation will directly support Mr. Abdelrazik, as well his support campaign which is sending a delegation of community members, union representatives, and independent media to the UN in June 2011.
$20 cash-only tickets are available at the following locations:
Hosted by No One Is Illegal-Vancouver and Streams of Justice.
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
After Abousfian Abdelrazik's five-city western speaking tour in November, Project Fly Home called for days of action on December 10th and 11th to demand that Mr. Abdelrazik be taken off the UN 1267 blacklist and that Canada immediately withdraw from this unconstitutional, unjust sanctions regime.
On Saturday December 11, 2010, around 100 people gathered in solidarity with Abousfian Abdelrazik and against the UN blacklist regime in front of the United Nations' International Civil Aviation Organization, the only UN building in Montreal.
"I send the message to [Prime Minister] Harper and [Minister] Cannon that you are isolated. The majority of Canadians don't support you anymore." Mr. Abdelrazik said to kick off the spirited march.
The demonstration proceeded to snake through the streets of Montreal, visiting different institutions and locations that are significant to Mr. Abdelrazik's case including the UN ICAO, US Embassy, and the Montreal headquarters of the caisses Desjardins. The march ended across the street from the Guy Favreau complex - the Canadian government offices in Montreal.
While the focus of the march remained on the ultimate responsibility of the Canadian government, supporters hung a "Wanted for Crimes Against Humanity" notice on the door of the UN consulate and made its way into the Complexe Desjardins to stop in front of the caisses Desjardins, which has frozen Mr. Abdelrazik's bank account, betraying its history as an institution created by popular movements.
During the march supporters shouted slogans such as "the US and the FBI co-operate with CSIS lies" and "Desjardins, you are complicit, we think you should just get with it" as well as the staple, "so, so, so, solidarite, avec, avec, Abdelrazik." Montreal-based MC TuThree performed a piece called "No one is illegal" during the march. Other supporters beat on drums and blew bullhorns.
The march wrapped up with an "associate-in": participants were invited to have their photo taken with Abdelrazik, in defiance of the "guilt by association" logic of the 1267 and other blacklisting regimes, and to break the fear and isolation of such racist scape-goating measure. Dozens of people participated, proud to be "Abdelrazik associates".
CKUT radio: Abdelrazik solidarity rally
On Friday, December 10th, five hundred and forty labour activists from across Canada listened to Abdelrazik as he thanked them for their support and encouraged them to stand up for justice. The activists were gathered for the CLC's three day Rise UP! conference.
Hassan Yussuff of the CLC presented Abdelrazik with a "sanctions-busting salary", saying, "Labour is pleased to stand up against these inhuman and grievous violations of human rights." He then invited all present to break the sanctions by contributing to the Just Work fund, which is paying Abdelrazik to document his story. In total, almost $6000 was handed over to Abdelrazik to provide financial support for his efforts to make other Canadians aware of his story.
In Regina, on December 9th and 10th, 500 postcards demanding Mr. Abdelrazik be deslisted were distributed throughout the city including on the university campus, at the Making Peace Vigil, at various union events and through Amnesty International.
"The treatment of Mr. Abdelrazik by the federal government is inexcusable," said Tracy Marchant, one of the speakers at a rally in Saskatoon on December 10th in solidarity with Mr. Abdelrazik. PHOTO OF SASKATOON RALLY Over a dozen people braved the deep cold to speak out against the government's treatment of Mr. Abdelrazik. Participants also signed an open letter to Saskatoon's four Conservative MPs urging them to lift the sanctions on Mr. Abdelrazik.
"I'll just have to call in - happens all the time; it's probably just that one of your names matches someone on the no fly list. This should only take a few moments," said the upbeat woman at the airline desk, her cheerfulness training kicking in.
Abousfian Abdelrazik was setting out on a five-city speaking tour that was to take him from Saskatoon to Vancouver. It was the second part of a speaking tour that had begun the previous year, just months after his return to Canada. He wanted to meet the people across the country who had supported his struggle to return to Canada; to tell his story of imprisonment and torture directly to others in Canada, unmediated by journalists; and to let people know about the UN sanctions regime that still straight-jacketed his life.
During the first part of the tour, he drove from Halifax to Winnipeg, speaking in nineteen cities and towns. Recalling how a Saskatchewan family had sent him warm words of encouagement and a family photo during a particularly difficult period of his confinement in the embassy in Khartoum, he determined to travel west to complete the cross-country tour in the fall of 2010.
This time he planned to fly. Plane travel gives many people pause these days, but for Abdelrazik - who was told in 2004 that he was on the American no fly list, and in 2006 that he was on the UN 1267 list - it raised fairly thorny questions. What kind of "special treatment" would be reserved for him, threatening to renew the bitter taste of unjust allegations and revive painful memories of brutality and exile? How could he cross Canada without entering US airspace - risking the relative freedom and safety he had won after a six year struggle? Would he even be allowed to fly; and was he ready to face the frustration and humiliation of a refusal?
The notorious United Nations 1267 blacklist regime, so-called after the Security Council resolution that created it, arbitrarily imposes an international travel ban and an asset freeze on listed individuals. It is not a no-fly list per se, but forbids travel across borders. In theory, then, Abdelrazik would not be prevented from flying domestically. But the wild card was the PR dilemma the situation posed for the populist Harper government.
The airline agent placed her call and was put on hold. She asked for Abdelrazik's ID - on hold again. Eventually, she asked for the ID of his travelling companion (a Project Fly Home member), a physical description of Abdelrazik (black, Arab, Muslim - with kind eyes), and the home addresses of both travellers. And back on hold. The boarding passes of both travellers were blocked: Abdelrazik's because his name was flagged, the Project Fly Home member because she was accompanying him. Minutes and then hours passed.
It wasn't until after the flight had left that the airline agent had a final answer: Abdelrazik and his companion could both fly. Abdelrazik was not on the no fly list! However, they were to expect delays and extra security checks throughout the trip. Each time they attempted to board, the airline would have to call in to Transport Canada's air travel "security" branch to have their files unblocked before issuing boarding passes. And they would be subject to intrusive body searches and item-by-item searches of their baggage while other passengers, whose profiles and associations were less alarming, moved swiftly through another line.
The missed flight and the extra time for boarding meant that three speaking events and a media interview had to be canceled. The situation was frustrating, humiliating and stressful - a kind of harassment, with no identifiable rationale beyond the exercise of subjugating power, and no apparent limit to that power, which extended to those accompanying him.
A week later, standing on the Pacific coast, Abdelrazik joyfully took in the natural beauty of ocean and mountains before heading to his final speaking event in a Vancouver labour hall. In total, Abdelrazik spoke at five public events as well as a university classroom; in Saskatoon, Regina, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. Events were organized by a diverse range of groups, involved in migrant justice struggles, Palestianian solidarity, labour movement, human rights, academics, journalism, and anti-racist action.
From campus to church sanctuary to labour hall, Abdelrazik challenged his audiences by courageously recounting some of the details of Canadian complicity in his detention and torture and in his current situation of living under a UN sanctions regime. Some were shocked, disturbed in their view of Canada, while others connected his story to their own, and to a history of Canada stretching from the violence of European colonization to the current shameful imprisonment of Tamil refugees in Vancouver.
Everywhere, participants were warmly supportive and often eager to take action.
In Calgary, Abdelrazik was joined by a dozen Calgarians of diverse ages and affiliations in a surprise visit to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's home riding office.
Accompanied by several journalists and armed with a letter, they were informed that not only was Harper not present, it was unknown when he would return to his own riding. The staff person was unaware of Harper's current whereabouts; all she could do was fax the letter to an office in Ottawa (which she did). Still, the mere fact of Abdelrazik's standing in Harper's calgary office, after all that Harper's government had done to keep him in the "1267 prison", to block his return to Canada, and even to endanger his life, sent a strong message, and which was certainly brought to the Prime Minister's attention.
The western speaking tour was part of Project Fly Home's Just Work campaign.
In Canada, under the 1267 regime, it is illegal to give Abdelrazik any amount of money - whether a gift, loan or salary. In open defiance of these sanctions, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), the Canadian section of the International Association of Machinists, the Canadian Auto Workers, CUPE, CAUT, PSAC as well as locals and labour federations have contributed money to the Just Work fund to pay Abdelrazik - who is currently on the CLC payroll - to document his story.
More information about how to join the Just Work campaign here.
In May, the month of workers' struggle, Project Fly Home is calling for support for Abousfian Abdelrazik's right to work freely and in dignity.
Under Canadian law it is illegal for any Canadian to “provide or collect by any means, directly or indirectly, funds with the intention that the funds be used” by listed individuals. This prevents Abdelrazik from working, since anyone paying him a salary could be charged. The penalty is up to ten years in prison.
Canadian Labour Congress, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Canadian section of the International Machinists and Windsor Labour Council are hiring Abdelrazik, in conscious violation of Canadian law implementing the 1267 regime in Canada and in order to support his right to earn a living in freedom and with dignity.
What Lawrence Cannon is concealing is that it is within his immediate power to lift the sanctions from Abdelrazik. The sanctions are imposed and enforced by Canada, under Canadian law. Cabinet could immediately pass an Order in Council to modify or repeal the regulations which implement the 1267 regime in Canada - tomorrow, or today! Read our "Reality Check" here.
BUILD THE MOMENTUM. The Canadian Labour Congress has issued a call to Federations of Labour and Labour Councils across Canada to support Project Fly Home's campaign against the UN Security Council's 1267 regime in support of Abdelrazik and the right to work freely and with dignity.
The campaign resolution calls for Canada to 1) immediately lift the sanctions imposed on Abdelrazik by Canada; 2) actively lobby Security Council members to remove his name from the 1267 list; and 3) withdraw entirely from the 1267 regime.
Please bring this resolution to your local, labour council or union and ask them to adopt it and to hire Abdelrazik for a day to document his story.
POINT THE FINGER. Let Mr. Cannon know that it is up to HIM to act. No more hiding behind the United Nations. Cabinet should immediately repeal the regulations implementing the 1267 list in Canada.
Write/call/fax Mr. Cannon with the simple message that it is up to HIM to act to free Mr. Abdelrazik. Demand that he ask Cabinet to pass an Order in Council revoking the regulations which implement the unconstitutional and unjust 1267 regime in Canada. Tell him to stop hiding behind the United Nations.
Tel: (613) 992-5516 and (819) 281-2626 Fax: (613) 992-6802 and (819) 281-2755 Email: Cannon.L@parl.gc.ca
According to the 1267 sanctions regime and under federal law, anyone who contributes money to Mr. Abdelrazik risks federal prosecution. Canadian regulations 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 listed person.
We are calling on you to restate your solidarity or join the long list of people who have defied the 1267 regime by contributing money to Mr. Abdelrazik. Your donations will support Mr. Abdelrazik personally, and the very act of donating will help challenge the oppressive "national security" logic, which creates and feeds on fear, racism and isolation.
The April 28th Telethon was an enormous success ((link through to the Past events report on April 28th)). Many thanks and congratulations to all who participated. If you were unable to get through during the telethon because the lines were too busy, we apologize!
It is not too late, you can still participate and send a strong message to the Canadian government. Please note, no donation is too small! This is not about raising a lot of funds, but challenging the 1267 regime.
Step 1. Make a check or money order to the order of "Abousfian Abdelrazik" and mail it to:
PO Box 65053
Montréal QC H3K 0K4
In March, Project Fly Home asks supporters to:
Join the postcard campaign: send a postcard yourself and distribute postcards to others in your networks.
Publish articles related to the campaign in local, campus and alternative media.
Please don't forget to send us your published articles.
June 27th will mark the one-year anniversary of Abousfian Abdelrazik's return to Canada after six years of forced exile and imprisonment in Sudan. Though this anniversary is something to celebrate, many challenges remain for Mr. Abdelrazik and the broader fight against oppressive "security" measures and racism. Mr. Abdelrazik is home, but not yet free and the fight against the UN 1267 regime and for a normal life for Mr. Abdelrazik has only just begun.
The UN 1267 List, which has included Mr. Abdelrazik's name since 2006, subjects individuals to a flight ban, an arms embargo and a complete asset freeze. These restrictions are severe and indefinite. Listed individuals face vague allegations, have no right to a hearing before they are placed on the list, and are provided with no evidence to support the claims against them. The Federal Court wrote in its June 2009 decision on Mr. Abdelrazik's case, "There is nothing in the listing or de-listing procedure that recognizes the principles of natural justice or that provides for basic procedural fairness." (For more information, please read our backgrounder on the 1267 List)
Project Fly Home invites you to join us over the next six months as we wage an intense campaign focused on two specific demands, which we hope will help move us towards the abolition of the 1267 List and challenge the racist national security agenda as a whole. If this campaign is successful, Mr. Abdelrazik will be able to mark this upcoming one-year of his return with his fundamental rights and freedoms restored, and will be able to move on and live his life in dignity.
The two demands this six-month campaign will make of the government are:
Immediately lift the domestic sanctions on Mr. Abdelrazik
In 2002, Canada changed the Al Qaida and Taliban Regulations (the domestic legislation implementing the 1267 regime) to exempt Mr. Liban Hussein, the only Canadian then on the 1267 list (for more information on Mr. Liban Hussein, see the paragraphs in this article. We demand that the government do the same for Mr. Abdelrazik, or otherwise take action to immediately free him from the sanctions in Canada, ideally repealing the regulations entirely, to be consistent with basic principles of justice and Canadian and international human rights law.
Actively advocate to delist Mr. Abdelrazik from the UN 1267 List.
Though the Canadian government asked the UN 1267 Committee to remove Mr. Abdelrazik's name from the 1267 List in 2007, it is very difficult to get off the 1267 List once you are on it. There are, in fact, dozens of dead people on the list. Delisting requires the consensus of all members of the committee. Thus, each member of the committee can block a delisting request, and is not required to provide any reason for doing so. This leads to decisions that seem to have much less to do with the individuals in question than external political objectives. The Canadian government must champion Mr. Abdelrazik's case to the Committee, by clearly making it a diplomatic priority in their relations with the members of the committee, in order for him to be delisted.
In the next six months, Project Fly Home Montreal will be organizing a number of actions and events in the context of this campaign. Please stay posted for more details! Please plan your own actions to support this campaign in the lead-up to the first anniversary of Mr. Abdelrazik's return to Canada.
To get involved, for more information, or to inform us of your plans to support this six-month focused campaign, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A sanctions-busting telethon held in support of Abousfian Abdelrazik in Montreal on April 28th, 2010 was a resounding success. More than 120 people from across the country responded to the appeal to donate to Abdelrazik, though they were aware that they risked federal prosecution by doing so.
"The telethon was a measure of the depth and breadth of Canadian opposition to this arbitrary sanctions regime. In a span of two hours, scores of people took an action they knew might result in criminal charges against them – it was a categorical rejection of the fear and racism these measures rely on," said Cory Legassic, a spokesperson for Project Fly Home.
Because Abdelrazik’s name appears on a Security Council blacklist - known as the ‘1267 list’ after the resolution which established it – he is subject to financial sanctions imposed by the Canadian government. These stipulate that no Canadian shall "provide or collect by any means, directly or indirectly, funds with the intention that the funds be used" by someone on the 1267 list.
"People called in from Vancouver to Halifax; from BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Nunavut. We even got a couple of calls from the United States. Our telephone operators were literally overwhelmed with calls for the full two hours – even after we tried to shut the line down, people kept calling. People also contacted Project Fly Home afterwards to let us know that they hadn’t been able to get through because the lines were so busy," added Legassic.
At the event in Montreal, an eclectic mix of performances – poetry, story-telling, folk, classical oud, and cabaret – mingled with the voices of phone operators welcoming callers. Operators systematically read the section of the law that could be used against contributors, to ensure the callers understood the situation. As calls came in, the level of a giant "sanctions-busting barometer" rose to indicate the number of people breaking the sanctions, and pins were placed on a map of Canada showing where people had called from.
"People who called in were very determined; very indignant that Mr. Abdelrazik is being treated this way, after all that he has already suffered at the hands of this and previous governments; and very concerned that people can be put under sanctions in such an arbitrary and Kafkaesque way," said Liam Olson-Mayes, who helped take calls.
"Project Fly Home has also received copies of letters people have sent to Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon informing him that they have donated to Mr. Abdelrazik and urging him to immediately lift the sanctions his government is imposing on Mr. Abdelrazik and withdraw entirely from this draconian sanctions regime," said Legassic.
"Seven years is enough, for me and for my family," said Mr. Abdelrazik. "I spent six years trying to come home, I can’t spend another six trying to get off this list. This list makes me insecure and isolates me from others; until I am free of it, I won’t feel like I am truly home."
The telethon was broadcast live on rabble.ca television and CKUT 90.3 FM broadcast live onsite.
February is Black History Month. Join Project Fly Home and the Alfie Roberts Institute in a panel discussion about state surveillance and repression of members of Montreal's black community in the name of national security in the 1960s and today.
This panel is part of a six-month campaign launched by Project Fly Home to demand that Canada immediately free Abdelrazik from the sanctions he is subject to under the "1267" regime, that Canada put pressure on members of the 1267 committee to delist Abdelrazik, and that the 1267 regime be scrapped.
To add your organization to the list of groups endorsing Project Fly Home's six demands, please read the sign-on statement and email your organization's name in English and French to email@example.com
To mark International Human Rights Day, come out to support Abdelrazik, still "imprisoned" by the UN 1267 list. Join us in a lively, noisy demonstration to demand that the federal government act now to ensure that he regains his full liberty.
Abousfian Abdelrazik, like Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati, Muayyed Nureddin, Maher Arar, Omar Khadr, the security certificate detainees and others, is a victim of the national security agenda, which has trashed the fundamental rights and dignity of immigrants and racialized communities in Canada. Abousfian Abdelrazik is still denied justice and dignity - with the Harper government refusing to take serious action to ensure that his name is removed from the 1267 list.
Canadian regulations implementing the 1267 list forbid anyone from providing material aid to Abdelrazik, including salary, loans, food or clothes. In July 2009, Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon and Minister of Public Safety Peter Van Loan refused Abdelrazik's request to meet in order to seek help in having his name removed from the list. Instead, the Ministers cynically referred Abdelrazik to delisting procedures on the 1267 Committee's website.
Support Abdelrazik's rights and freedoms, so that he can live with full dignity. Join Project Fly Home in the streets to publicly demand that:
Canada take all necessary action to ensure that Abousfian Abdelrazik's name be immediately taken off the UN's 1267 list;
Canada use all means in its power to compel the UN Security Council to scrap the 1267 list, including repealing its own regulations implementing this list.
Join us to show your indignation at the Canadian government's inaction in Abdelrazik's case, and at Lawrence Canon, Peter Van Loan and Stephen Harper, who are responsible for the nightmare that Abdelrazik lived. Join us to denounce their actions, as well as the systemic racism which allows the state to practice profiling and discrimation towards entire communities.
While the 1267 list imposes severe and indefinite restrictions on the liberty of individuals and their families, the listing and delisting procedures utterly fail to meet the most minimal due process standards. The allegations are vague, the evidence, if any, is secret, and there is no right to a hearing or appeal. The Federal Court wrote in its June 2009 decision on Abdelrazik's case, "There is nothing in the listing or de-listing procedure that recognizes the principles of natural justice or that provides for basic procedural fairness."
The United Nations Al Qaeda and Taliban Regulations which implement the 1267 list in Canada were never even debated in Parliament. They nevertheless purport to authorize violations of the most fundamental human rights.
Both the UN 1267 list and the Canadian regulations implementing the list serve a political agenda which relies on a racist concept of "national security". Highly profitable for some, this agenda further marginalizes targeted communities, creates fear and silences debate, delegitimizes resistance and justifies oppression. On the global front, the national security agenda has unleashed a war of terror on the Muslim and Arab world which has wrecked devastation and left countless people dead.
Project Fly Home is a project of the People's Commission Network.
Rally sponsored by CKUT radio.
Abousfian Abdelrazik, recently returned from 6 years of forced exile in Sudan, will be on tour across Quebec and eastern Canada, from the 24th of September to the 17th of October, accompanied by members of Project Fly Home. The tour is sponsored nationally by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), Council of Canadians, Council on American-Islamic Relations - Canada (CAIRCAN), International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG), and the National Campus and Community Radio Association (NCRA).
Montreal Thursday, 24 September at 6pm (dinner) & 7pm (panel & strategy forum) CEDA, 2515 rue Delisle Hosted by: Project Fly Home (People's Commission Network) More information: projectflyhome[at]gmail.com Sherbrooke Friday, 25 September at 12:30 Carrefour de l'Information (agora de la bibliothèque principale) University of Sherbrooke More information: rajestrie[at]leraj.org Halifax, Nova Scotia Monday, 28 September at 7pm Room 105, 6061 University Avenue Weldon Law Building, Dalhousie University Hosted by: Halifax Peace Coalition (www.halifaxpeacecoalition.ca ) and NSPIRG (www.nspirg.org) More information: halifaxpeacecoalition[at]gmail.com
Fredericton, New Brunswick Tuesday, 29 September at 7pm Tilley Hall, Room 303, University of New Brunswick Hosted by: Fredericton Peace Coalition More information: info[at]frederictonpeace.org Williamstown, Ontario Thursday, 1 October at 7pm Williamstown Branch, SDG County Library (Sir John Johnson Manor House) Hosted by: Williamstown Public Library Speakers' Series More information: williamstownlib[at]sdglibrary.ca or tel. 613-347-3397 Ottawa Friday, 2 October at 2:30pm 360 Tory Building, Carleton University More information: bill_skidmore[at]carleton.ca or (613) 520-2600, ext. 2359 Ottawa Friday, 2 October at 7pm Tom Brown Arena Hall, 141 Bayview Rd. (at Wellington) Hosted by: NOWAR PAIX More information: nowar.paix[at]gmail.com Gatineau, Québec Saturday, 3 October at 1pm Salle C-0416, Pavillon Alexandre-Taché, Université du Québec en Outaouais 283 Alexandre-Taché Boulevard Hosted by: Rassemblement Outaouais Contre la Guerre (ROCG) More information: info[at]rocg.ca Peterborough, Ontario Sunday, 4 October 3:00 pm - Public Talk 5:00 pm - Community Reception (with snacks) Peterborough Public Library, 345 Aylmer St. N. Hosted by: Peterborough and Kawarthas chapter - Council of Canadians, Community and Race Relations Committee, Food Not Bombs, New Canadians Centre, OPIRG More information: racerelation[at]gmail.com Kingston, Ontario Monday, 5 October at 11:30am Room 001, Law Building, Queen's University Hosted by: International Speakers' Series and Law Students' Society More information: darryl.robinson[at]queensu.ca Kingston, Ontario Monday, 5 October at 6.30pm Wilson Room, Kingston Frontenac Library-Central, 130 Johnson Street Hosted by: No one is illegal Kingston, Society of Graduate and Professional Students, Ontario Public Interest Research Group - Kingston, Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul More information: noiikingston[at]gmail.com Kitchener, Ontario Tuesday, 6 October at 4:30pm Potluck and Barbeque K-W Community Centre for Social Justice, 63 Courtland Hosted by: KWCCSJ and AW@L More information: sarcalison[at]hotmail.com Kitchener, Ontario Tuesday, 6 October at 7pm EIT Building, room 1015, University of Waterloo Hosted by: WIPIRG More information: sarcalison[at]hotmail.com and evan[at]wpirg.org. London, Ontario Wednesday, 7 October at 1pm Wemple Student Lounge, King's University College, UWO Hosted by: King's University College Centre for Social Concern More information: bhammond[at]uwo.ca Windsor, Ontario Wednesday, 7 October at 7pm Oak room, Vanier Hall, University of Windsor Hosted by: Windsor Peace Coalition and the Unitarian Universalists of Windsor More information: catherineforpeace[at]hotmail.com Toronto Thursday, 8 October at 7pm Steelworkers' Hall, 25 Cecil St. Hosted by: Stop Canadian Involvement in Torture and Christian Peacemaker Teams and endorsed by the Centre for Integrated Anti-Racism Studies (CIARS) at OISE More information: tasc[at]web.ca Hamilton, Ontario Friday, 9 October at 7pm The Skydragon Centre, 27 King William St. Hosted by: Amnesty International Hamilton #1, Amnesty International Burlington #21, Common Cause - Hamilton and Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3396 More information: cshannon9[at]cogeco.ca Mississauga, Ontario Saturday, 10 October at 6pm Blind Duck Restaurant, Student Centre, University of Toronto 3359 Mississauga Road North Fundraising dinner with Suad Hagui and Faraz Siddiqui Hosted by: Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) More information: info[at]caf.ca or 416 493 8653 Sudbury, Ontario Tuesday, 13 October at 7 pm Arts Building, Laurentian University, room A226 Hosted by: Sudbury Against War and Occupation More information: tel. 705-688-8694 or sudburyawo[at]gmail.com Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario Wednesday, 14 October at 7pm Algoma University - Doc Brown Lounge (EW 205) Refreshments provided, admission by donation Hosted by: Fair Trade Algoma, AU Community Economic and Social Development (CESD) Department More information: rebecca.stuebing[at]algomau.ca Sioux Lookout, Ontario Friday, 16 October, 7pm St. Andrew's United Church Hall (21 Sixth Avenue). Hosted by: Sioux Lookout Anti-Racist Committee More information: tel 807-737-1501 or info[at]slarc.ca Winnipeg, Manitoba Saturday, 17 October at 5 p.m. Knox United Church, 400 Edmonton St. Hosted by: Peace Alliance Winnipeg More information: www.peacealliancewinnipeg.ca or tel 204.775.4981
Abousfian Abdelrazik, like Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati, Muayyed Nureddin and Maher Arar, is another victim of a racist national security agenda that has gained so much ground in Canada over the past decade.
On the recommendation of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Abdelrazik was jailed and imprisoned while on a visit to Sudan in 2003. Never charged, Abdelrazik was beaten, threatened and tortured during two periods of detention. In this context, he was questioned by CSIS.
Prevented by the Canadian government from returning home to Canada, he went public with his story and took refuge in the Canadian Embassy in Khartoum, where he remained for more than one year.
It took a groundswell from people across Canada, as well legal action, to finally bring about his return and reunion with his children in Montreal on June 27, 2009.
After six harrowing years in exile, Abdelrazik is home -- but his struggle is not over. In 2006, without his knowledge and with no opportunity to respond, Abdelrazik's name was placed on the UN's "1267 List". This Kafka-esque list imposes a travel ban and total asset freeze on listed individuals. Canadian regulations implementing the 1267 List prohibit anyone from providing Abdelrazik with any material aid - including salary, loans of any amount, food or clothing.
On tour with Project Fly Home, Abdelrazik will speak about his experiences and his on-going struggle for justice, as he seeks to re-establish a normal life in Canada. These community gatherings will be a chance to hear his story, as well as an opportunity to strategize together about how to make real changes to the structures which allow this to happen.
Free community dinner followed by a talk from Abdelrazik and a public strategy forum
The launch of the speaking tour will take place the 24th of September in Montreal, at a community dinner during which Abdelrazik will tell his story, followed by a public forum to discuss strategies and next steps in his campaign for justice.
Please come to Parliament Hill at 10am to greet Abousfian as he arrives to tell part of his story in a press conference in Parliament at 10:30am. Your support will be greatly appreciated. Signs and banners are great. Note that the press gallery limits the number of people who can attend, but can make our presence felt outside and encourage Abousfian with our support.
On July 7th, Abousfian Abdelrazik, after finally returning Montreal, will appear in court to answer questions from Judge Russell Zinn. On June 4th, Judge Zinn ordered the Government of Canada to bring Mr. Abdelrazik back to Canada as quickly as possible. He had also highlighted the involvement of CSIS officials in the imprisonment of Mr. Abdelrazik, and "bad faith" of the federal government in this case.
Come out to show your support on Tuesday, 7 July as Abousfian appears in Federal Court (30 McGill Street, metro Square Victoria), as requested by the Federal Court order as final proof that the government obeyed the judge's ruling to bring Abousfian home.
Abousufian will be returning home to Montreal this Saturday around midnight after a six-year forced exile in Sudan, where he experienced torture, imprisonment without trial, and over one year trapped in the Canadian embassy. All with the involvement of Canadian officials.
Let's give him a warm welcome home. One of the few things that he indicated he would like is to greet some of his supporters upon his arrival. It's the least we can do.
While we await his arrival, there will be an opportunity to make cards, posters, banners and video messages to greet him, as well as friendly conversation and refreshments.
Bring your noise-makers, confetti, coloured flags and festive spirits to celebrate his return and this (small) victory.
Abousfian returns to Toronto
Abousfian Abdelrazik will arrive home on Saturday, June 27 at 4.40 PM, ending almost six-years of exile in Sudan. Mr. Abdelrazik will make a brief statement at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport (International Arrivals) before continuing his trip to Montreal where he will be reunited with his family.
Supporters greet Abousfian at Pearson Airport, Toronto
Friends and supporters will be waiting at the arrivals gate in Toronto to welcome him home. Mr. Abdelrazik will be accompanied on his long trip home by his lawyer Yavar Hameed. The exact location of the press conference will be announced shortly.
On 10 June 2009, Project Fly Home Montreal held a kite rally to hold Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon to the Federal Court order to return Abousfian Abdelrazik to his home of Montreal with a ticket scheduled for 12 June and to continue to raise questions about the complicity of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Ministry in his detention, torture and unexplained exile in Soudan.
The kite rally began on the four corners of a busy intersection in downtown Montreal at noon. People flew kites with slogans, sported plane costumes, held up banners, passed out flyers, chanted slogans and spoke to passers-by. The rally then took Peel street and marched to the CSIS offices where Dolores Chew (contributor), Brian Aboud (contributor), Djibril Ndiaye (Groupe de recherche et initiative pour la libération d'Afrique), and Mathieu Francoeur (les Apatrides anonymes) spoke powerfully about his case, urging people to stand up in defense of their own freedom and dignity and in solidarity with Abousfian; against Canadian complicity in torture, and against the racism and fear allowing the government, CSIS and the RCMP to treat non-Canadian born citizens and racialized people with such brutality and injustice. The street theatre troupe RevolutionArt graphically illustrated CSIS's complicity in torture and the cruel denial of a passport by government officials. The rally remained in front of the unmarked office at 715 Peel Street (just south of St-Antoine) for close to an hour, highlighting loudly and colorfully its hidden activities whose designers have been allowed to remain unaccountable for far too long.
James Loney holds up Abdelrazik's plane ticket for 12 June
Department of Foreign Affairs, L.B. Pearson Building
125 Sussex Drive, Ottawa
A small delegation of contributors to Abousfian Abdelrazik's ticket fund waited in the rain today to deliver a plane ticket to Minister Lawrence Cannon or a representative today at the Foreign Affairs Building in Ottawa.
James Loney, one of the ticket contributors, shared his thoughts at being at Foreign Affairs. "The last time I was here, it was three years ago, when this same Conservative government had gone to extraordinary lengths to rescue me when I was kidnapped in Baghdad and held for four months," he stated, referring to the high-profile case of the Christian Peacemakers Team. "There are a lot of good people in this building who helped me as a Canadian needing assistance abroad."
On June 4th, the Federal Court issued an order directing the government to bring Abousfian Abdelrazik back to Montreal within thirty days – thus by July 3rd. The Federal Court found that the government had breached Mr. Abdelrazik's charter rights by refusing to issue him an emergency passport. The court also found that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) had been complicit in Mr. Abdelrazik's arrest in Sudan.
Mr. Abdelrazik already has a paid-for ticket for a flight scheduled to leave Khartoum on Friday, June 12th. The ticket was purchased by a fund to which around 250 Canadians – from St. John's to Victoria to Iqaluit, and from all walks of life – have contributed, despite a risk of prosecution. Originally booked for April 3rd, the ticket was re-booked after Minister Cannon refused to issue the travel document that Mr. Abdelrazik needed to board his flight.
Francine Dumas talks to journalists
The delegation went to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa this morning in order to offer Minister Cannon the June 12th plane ticket as an easy, cost-effective and rapid means for the government to comply with the 4 June Federal Court order to bring Abousfian home.
"Now that the government has to bring him home, why not take advantage of this opportunity?" asked Samantha McGavin, a local ticket contributor.
However, the goodwill gesture received a chilly reception. Security at the government building refused the small and dignified group (about a dozen people, including several senior citizens) entry into the building’s reception area, insisting that any package be delivered to the service entry. About 7 or 8 TV outlets filmed the stand-off. After close to two hours, two members, James Loney and Francine Dumas, were finally allowed into the building, provided the meeting was off-limits to media. They met with the Director-General of Consular Policy and Advocacy Bureau, Lillian Thomsen, and two others; while the officials refused to take a printout of the electronic ticket, they acknowledged that they were aware that the ticket was available for their use.
Despite the less than warm welcome, McGavin remains enthusiastic about Mr. Abdelrazik’s imminent return. "It is good news that the government is aware that there is already a ticket booked for this Friday. We hope they will immediately issue an emergency passport in time for him to get on that plane. While the government may have a better plan to bring him home quickly and safely, this option is already arranged and paid for, and will bring Mr. Abdelrazik home without delay. Why make him wait any longer?"
Francine Dumas 819-643-4155
James Loney 416-516-2326
Samantha McGavin 613-864-1809 (cell)
Jo Wood 613-864-5959 (cell)
On 2 June 2009, Kalmunity Vibe Collective invited Project Fly Home to raise awareness about the struggle of Abousfian Abdelrazik to return home to Montreal at their weekly live organic jam session in Little Italy’s Sablo Cafe in Montreal.
Court hearing in Ottawa, starting at 9:30 am. Abdelrazik's lawyers have put in a motion for a mandatory order from the Court to compel the government to bring him back "on any safe means at its disposal". The motion is based on section 6 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which states, "Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada." The remedy is being argued under section 24 of the Charter (which requires just and reasonable grounds for a Charter breach). The public is welcome to attend the court hearing.
Public protests took place in different cities across the country
A dozen people entered Glenmore Landing, a private shopping mall in which protests and leafleting are forbidden, and camped outside Stephen Harper's riding office in Calgary. After one hour they were forced to leave by mall security. Outside, the protest continued with signs, distributing flyers, postcards, buttons and having a petition in support of Abousfian signed. A delegate went into the office, but was only able to talk to the receptionists in an attempt to bring Harper's attention to popular support for Abousfian.
The local Calgary support group for Mr. Abdelrazik is planning a rally to bring clarity and visibility to his unfortunate situation.
A lively and diverse support rally of 50 people gathered outside Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office in downtown Ottawa to support a delegation delivering a direct appeal from Abousfian Abdelrazik to Stephen Harper. The delegation included Abdullah Almalki, a Canadian citizen who was detained, interrogated and tortured in Syria for almost two years on questions and information that were sent to the Syrians by the RCMP and CSIS with the help of DFAIT. Roch Tassé, the coordinator of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG), also took part.
Delegation to present personal message from Abousfian Abdelrazik to Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Over 100 people gathered in Toronto to support "Camp Abdelrazik", a full-day event in support of Abousfian Abdelrazik. A delegation, including characters from the Wizard of Oz - tin man, scarecrow, lion, good witch, and Dorothy - paid a surprise visit to the 34th floor of the building housing the Justice Dept. Dorothy and the others demanded to be charged for contributing to the Abousfian solidarity fund and called on the Department of Justice to withdraw their support for the government's court arguments to prevent Abousfian from returning to come home.
View YouTube videos of the rally!
Saturday, May 2nd, 1 to 3pm (come and go)
Write On! In support of Abousfian Abdelrazik
Information and update at 1:15pm
Mayfair Library meeting room, 602 33rd St. West
Information Picket for Abousfian
Saturday, 2 May from 11 til 12 pm
at the Market at Monmouth and Ottawa Street
Bring Abousfian Abdelrazik Home, Already!
An informal evening of Information, Solidarity and Support Wednesday April 29th, 6-9 Cherry Street, Kitchener (call or email for address) Free event (donations accepted) Join us as we learn about this case, write letters to politicians and messages of support to Abousfian, and discuss upcoming actions.
RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-569-8085
Information picket and fundraiser to mark one year that Abousfian has spent in the embassy. Information picket
Central & Richmond (corner of Victoria Park) at 4pm
Get Listed! Speak out and Fundraiser
View video of the action here:
On 28 April 2009, Project Fly Home Montreal marked the one-year anniversary of Abousfian Abdelrazik's taking "temporary safe haven" in the Canadian embassy in Sudan by inviting other Montrealers to "Get listed!". Dolores Chew, Brian Aboud, Djibril Ndiaye and a number of others who contributed to Abousfian's plane ticket, as well as Montreal poets Ehab Lotayef and Trish Salah and hip-hop artist 23, spoke powerfully about his case, urging people to stand up in defense of their own freedom and dignity and in solidarity with Abousfian; against Canadian complicity in torture, and against the racism and fear allowing the government, CSIS and the RCMP to treat non-Canadian born citizens and racialized people with such brutality and injustice. The street theatre troupe RevolutionArt graphically illustrated Abousfian's current situation of limbo in the Canadian embassy, and stationed "spies" - complete with dark sunglasses, trench coats and newspapers - throughout the rally. Passers-by were called upon to make a donation to the solidarity fund for Abousfian Abdelrazik and be added to a growing list of people refusing to be cowed by the fear-mongering "national security" discourse. Over twenty people responded to the call to "Get listed!", contributing to the fund and adding their names to the solidarity list. A simultaneous radio show was hosted on CKUT 90.3FM by Stefan Christoff and Samaa Elibyari, with guest speakers Yavar Hameed (Abousfian's lawyer), MP Wayne Marston (NDP critic for Human Rights), Ihsaan Gardee (Executive Director of CAIR-CAN), as well as audio from an article by Maher Arar, and a live report from the Speak Out.
Information picket in the rain, handing out information and postcards. A street poll came out 100% that the government should bring Abousfian home.
Raise public awareness and support for Abousfian Abdelrazik
11:30 AM, Meet at corner of Elgin and Sparks Street.
Poster display, street poll, distribution of postcards and leaflets.
Rally was small, but really a great success! Petitions were collected and a painted banner with hand prints and names of well wishers of Mr. Abdelrazik was made to send to him to show support and help to keep up his courage and morale. Get photos here!
A delegation of Calgarites braved a cold and blustery day to deliver a letter to the Prime Minister's riding office. The receptionist had been listening to the news about Abdelrazik, and seemed genuinely concerned and sympathetic. She promised to fax a copy of the letter to the Minister and to express post it to the PM in Ottawa.
Participants in the picket at the passport office handed out flyers and post cards and engaged in discussions with concerned passers-by. Contributors to the ticket spoke and media turn out was good.
Letters written by members of the constituency were delivered to the local MP's office.
People for Peace London organized a small picket outside the passport office, distributing information and postcards to passers-by.
Contributors to the ticket for Abousfian Abdelrazik gathered outside the Passport Office in downtown Montreal. After a few of the contributors spoke and flyers and postcards were distributed to passers-by, the group entered the building to demand that a passport be immediately issued to Abousfian Abdelrazik. Met with a locked door and intransigent security guards, the crowd remained outside the office for some time, disrupting the normal workings of the office.
Speak out by ticket contributors outside Ottawa passport office. Public information distributed to passers-by and good media turn out.
BRING ABOUSFIAN ABDELRAZIK BACK TO CANADA!
There will be two actions, in Montreal, and in Ottawa on Friday September 12 at noon:
Street theatre to demand the immediate repatriation of Abdelrazik Abousfian and to expose Canadian involvement in torture.
Corner of Peel and Ste-Catherine, Montreal Friday, 12 September 2008, 12 noon
Please join us on Friday to demand the immediate repatriation of Abdelrazik Abousfian and to expose Canadian involvement in torture.
On Friday, 12 September at 12 noon there will be a rally in Ottawa at the Human Rights Monument (Elgin at Lisgar) to demand justice for Abousfian Abdelrazik, a Canadian citizen, who is currently in limbo in the Canadian Embassy in Sudan. The Canadian government is obstructing every effort to bring him home.
Please join the rally. Speakers (to be announced) will indicate the extent to which the government is repeating the same shameful behaviour as in the Mahar Arar case!
More information at http://www.nowar-paix.ca/abdelrazik.
Contact the People's Commission Network: QPIRG Concordia - Peoples's Commission Network c/o Concordia University 1455 de Maisonneuve Ouest Montreal, QC, H3G 1M8 email@example.com
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