‘We've acted on the very best legal advice,' Justice Minister says in announcing government will comply with court order to let stranded Canadian return from Sudan
Ottawa — The Canadian Press, Thursday, Jun. 18, 2009
The Harper government said Thursday that it will comply with a court order to let Abousfian Abdelrazik return to Canada.
Federal Court Justice Russel Zinn ruled this month that the government breached Mr. Abdelrazik's constitutional rights by refusing to give him an emergency passport. Judge Zinn ordered him returned within 30 days.
Mr. Abdelrazik and his supporters waited almost two weeks to hear whether the government would follow the order or contest it in a higher court.
Mr. Abdelrazik, a Canadian with family in Montreal, was arrested but not charged during a 2003 visit to Sudan to see his ailing mother.
He says CSIS and American FBI officers interrogated him over alleged terrorist links.
Sudanese authorities released Mr. Abdelrazik — who denies involvement in extremism — and the RCMP says there is no information linking him to criminal activity.
But the government refused to give him a passport because he remains on a United Nations security watch list, and he has been living in the Canadian Embassy in Khartoum for months.
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson announced the change of position in the House of Commons.
“The government will comply with the court order,” Mr. Nicholson said in response to a question from Liberal MP Irwin Cotler.
He later added: “We've acted on the very best legal advice.”
Yavar Hameed, one of Mr. Abdelrazik's lawyers, welcomed the move.
“Government compliance with the order is an excellent and expected step — something we had hoped for in this file. This first new development is very encouraging.”
Paul Champ, another Abdelrazik lawyer, said the government had sent a letter spelling out a “concrete plan” for Mr. Abdelrazik's return, but he was unable to share details.
There was also a suggestion Thursday, but no confirmation, that the government would still appeal elements of the court ruling, which concluded that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service was complicit in Mr. Abdelrazik's arrest by the Sudanese.
A spokeswoman for Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon could provide no further information.
In his ruling, Judge Zinn said the government's claim that Mr. Abdelrazik couldn't fly to Canada due to his inclusion on the UN blacklist was actually “no impediment” to his repatriation.
Scores of Canadians chipped in to buy Mr. Abdelrazik an airline ticket, but his passport had expired and he could not leave Sudan without one.
Mr. Cotler said there were still many unanswered questions — including some about torture — and suggested a special task force or Commons committee be asked to look into the case.
“We need to know, why the government did not act sooner. Why was he languishing in Sudan all these years?”
NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar also wants answers.
“Of course the question is why didn't they make this decision earlier? Why didn't the government allow one of its citizens to come home?” Mr. Dewar asked.
“It's a great day for his family that he will finally be able to see his kids.”
In his ruling this month, Judge Zinn said the government violated Mr. Abdelrazik's Charter right to enter Canada by failing to justify its decision to deny him a temporary travel document.
“He lives by himself with strangers while his immediate family, his young children, are in Montreal. He is as much a victim of international terrorism as the innocent persons whose lives have been taken by recent barbaric acts of terrorists,” the judge wrote.
“In this case, the refusal of the emergency passport effectively leaves Mr. Abdelrazik as a prisoner in a foreign land, consigned to live the remainder of his life in the Canadian embassy or leave and risk detention and torture.”
Mr. Harper has effectively, "chosen" Rob Nicholson to be a "sacri-ficial
lamb" for the guaranteed very negative political fallout that is going to follow
the conservatives for a very long time.
Their "very best legal advice" was given to them repeatedly by a string of judges who MR. HARPER ignored until somehow, after everything started to look bad, he finally saw the writing on the wall or smelt the coffee, what ever it was that triggered his brain on top of the hill.
Mr. Harper did not like a string of court decisions so he did "indirectly" or failed to do, what he was ordered to do by a court.
Rob Nicholson is the person who committed this criminal offe-nse of Con.tempt of Court, its is the Prime Minister who lacks the courage to stand up and accept responsibility .
Apparently, the Prime Minister, thinks he can engage in an illegal legal reasoning process used by criminals with world over, its called "the process of justi-fication" that's right, supposedly the Amer-icans, and no one else think Abdelrazik "might be" a terrrorrist or something remotely connected, but without any evidence.
The prime minister instead of enforcing the rights of a Canadian Citizen, did the un-thinkable and left him in limbo despite a string of co-urt or-ders.
No doubt Mr. Mulroney had his brain do a similar farrt when he decided to take several hundred grand in cr.isp 100 dollar notes.
Both show disrespect that is unbecoming that of the office of Prime Minister.
You can thank the Glob.e's E-Censor for the Chinese spielling and gramatical
Mr. Harper is a creature of habit, if he can't get something directly or has
to do something directly, he does it indirectly, no doubt firing off those
unwritten commands that are never recorded and sworn to secrecy delivered by a
trail of intermediaries upon each can be drawn a curtain to ensure that no rat
jumps the ship and rats on the boss.
IF, Mr Abdelrazik is about to get on a flight home, his six year struggle will be over, Mr. Harper's struggle to deal with the decisions Mr. Harper made or we can assume he made on the balance of probabilities, then Mr. Harper's troubles will be similar to that of Watergate. Only trouble is Abdelrazik-Gate is a too much of a mouthful.
As Mr. Harper is a creature of habit, we should not ever believe that Mr. Abdelrazik will be on a flight anytime soon. Mr. Harper has delayed and delayed, and its to be expected that Mr. Harper has yet another string of ideas his brain trust has provided on how to circumvent the string of judicial orders of which Mr. Harper is in contempt.
It begs the question. What is Mr. Harper going to do for an encore?