Friday, April 03, 2009

Death by bureaucracy. Stuck at the Sudanese Canadian Embassy

In case you believed my post the other day, please read the first letter of each line.

Now for my blog...

And I thought Sudan was an annoyingly bureaucratic country. Here's an excerpt from my chapter after a week in the country.

"In government offices, sweaty lethargic men in cheap-cut suits shuffled papers behind their desks. The only decorations in the offices were glass-framed pictures of their bald, heavy-set president Omar al-Bashir. His thin moustache highlighted the grimace on his face. He had a hooked beak of a nose and ferret-like eyes.

His stern expression seemed to convey a sense of urgency, and since I always saw him when dealing with paperwork, for me, he illustrated the urgency of Sudanese bureaucracy. A permit to travel, a permit to stay in
Khartoum, a permit for the car, photographs, photocopies… "

Abousfian Abdelrazik, a Sudanese-Canadian citizen, has been in Sudan since 2003. He's unable to return home to Montreal where he has his children because his name's been put on a US security threat blacklist.

He travelled to Sudan in 2003 to visit his ailing mother. He was subsequently arrested, tortured, released, interrogated by US and Canadian security agencies, and after all that, has sought refuge in the Canadian embassy for the past 11 months. He's afraid to go out onto the streets of Khartoum because he fears arrest and further torture, imprisonment, or even death.

One thing confuses me though Mr Harper. He's on a no fly list, but flew out of Canada. How does that work exactly?

If he is guilty of something, pursue a criminal investigation and CHARGE him. Don't just tread all over his rights.

The RCMP and CSIS both exonerated him of any criminal activity. The Harper government hasn't.

It's a disgrace on par with the internment of Japanese citizens during World War II and it shows a scary anti-Muslim sentiment on part of Canada's top leadership.

That might bode well with some voters. But let's seriously think of the repurcussions of this. It brews resentment and stokes the fires of people who might actually be violent extremists living inside Canada. Is that a good thing?

If we are violating the rights of someone who has not had due process, it jeopardises the legitimacy of the Canadian justice system. It casts a shadow upon all terrorist investigations because of the cruel, unfair, and seemingly arbitrary decisions made at the top level.

Bring him back, investigate him, charge him, do what you want when he gets back to Canada. Just don't leave him in indeterminate limbo, not to mention promising one thing and doing another.

It's disgusting.

2 comments:

Wilf Ruland said...

I appreciate the thought you put into this post. Are you going to leave it at that, or join others in taking action?

Daniel said...

I'll continue to blog on the subject as things develop. Protesting isn't my thing, trying to get the word out there is.

I've started a Facebook group, http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=67065831455&ref=mf

If I could, I'd get in touch with Mr. Abdelrazik, his family, and others effected by his plight. Ideally, I'd like to put even more thought into writing about their hardships and humiliations. As someone effected by Canadian Embassy bureaucratic incompetence, it's all to familiar for me. Yet my stories pale in comparison to this poor man.