Thursday, March 05, 2009

Canada, Sudan, and the stench of hypocrisy

Two headlines on Canada and Sudan, just hours apart

Canada urges Sudan to cooperate with the International Criminal Court
after the bench issued an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Beshir for war crimes in Darfur.

Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon :
"Canada strongly supports the work of the ICC, including its work in Sudan," he said, calling for "ongoing international scrutiny of Sudan's commitments to human rights."

Sure. Unless, of course, Canada is making use of Sudan's crappy human rights record to detain and torture a Canadian citizen, Abousfian Abdelrazik. Then we're not so keen on those "commitments to human rights".

CSIS asked Sudan to arrest Canadian, files reveal
Abdelrazik is 'first case of Canadian rendition,' MP says

"Canadian security operatives asked Sudan - a country with a notorious record of torture and abuse in its prisons - to arrest and detain Canadian citizen Abousfian Abdelrazik, according to heavily redacted Canadian documents, marked "secret."

The newly obtained documents provide the strongest evidence to date that Canadian Security Intelligence agents engaged in the Bush-era U.S. practice of getting other countries to imprison those it considered security risks aboard rather than charge them with any crime."

Abdelrazik fled to Canada in 1990 after being imprisoned in Sudan for his political beliefs following the coup by the same President Omar al-Beshir the ICC is after today. Abdelrazik was granted refugee status and in 1995 he became a Canadian citizen.
While he was visiting his ailing mother in Khartoum in 2003, Canada had him arrested and interrogated there. Despite his being declared innocent of terrorist ties and released from prison by Sudan, even despite Sudan's offer to fly him home to Canada, Canada refused to return or reissue his expired passport and his name subsequently went on the U.S. no-fly list.

On April 3, 2007, Foreign Affairs point man on the case, Sean Robertson, sent a cable to the Canadian embassy in Khartoum :
"Mission staff should not accompany Abdelrazik to his interview with the FBI."

A month later a Canadian embassy official in Khartoum told Ottawa that Mr. Abdelrazik had been told by the FBI that he would never see Canada again unless he implicated others as al-Qaeda operatives.

I do believe we've been here before.

Let Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon know you're watching - -and support Abdelrazik's return to Canada on Facebook.
Previous Creekside posts on Abdelrazik. . . Dr. Dawg's superior coverage.

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