Stockwell Day's Statements on Hunger Strike Found to be Deceptive And Dishonest; Reality Check Document Dispels Myths Day has Spread About Life-and-Death Hunger Strike at Canada's Guantanamo Bay
February 6, 2007 -- The Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada and the Hunger Strike Support Committee today released a document illustrating the extent to which Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day is either terribly ill-informed, poorly briefed, or just downright dishonest when it comes to the life-and-death hunger strike now at day 74 for Mohammad Mahjoub, Day 63 for Mahmoud Jaballah and Hassan Almrei. The three are held at the Kingston Immigration Holding Centre, also known as Guantanamo North.
TO GET A COPY OF THE REALITY CHECK IN FRENCH CLICK HERE
"While Mr. Day has shown a callous disregard for the men's lives in general, essentially stating it is okay to trample on their human rights as long as there is chocolate sauce in the refrigerator, he has also shown an appalling disregard for the truth," says campaign spokesperson Matthew Behrens.
"From the lie that these men are free to leave custody to the notion that medical care is available when, in fact, it has been denied to the detainees, Mr. Day needs to do some real studying. If only he had spoken with the men when he visited the Kingston Immigration Holding Centre, if only he had spoken with and listened to the family members and their supporters on the many journeys they have made to Ottawa, perhaps he would not show himself to be so ill-informed on the subject matter."
While the hunger strike continues to place the men's lives in jeopardy, the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration today passed an emergency resolution calling on the federal government to immediately appoint the Office of the Correctional Investigator to deal with the crisis at Guantanamo North.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International has also entered the debate, writing an open letter to the minister stating, "Amnesty International recognizes that a hunger strike can be a form of non-violent protest against an abuse of human rights. It comes as no surprise that these individuals, facing great stress and with no other effective options, have resorted to such action. Numerous human rights organizations, legal academics, as well as expert United Nations human rights bodies such as the Human Rights Committee, the Committee against Torture and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention have expressed serious concerns about the fact that the security certificate process fails to meet international standards governing detention and fair trials. They have also expressed concern with the government's position that it is justifiable to deport these men to countries where they are at risk of torture."
"Given the lack of an independent complaints process and the apparent failure to carry out ongoing medical monitoring, it is vital that the government move without delay to ensure there is impartial review of the allegations and demands made by the hunger strikers," the human rights group stated. "Amnesty International requests that [Stockwell Day] urgently appoint someone to carry out that review; and ensure that regular medical monitoring of these three men begins immediately and is not made subject to any arbitrary or unreasonable conditions."
Tomorrow night in Toronto, supporters of the hunger striking men will gather in front of CSIS (277 Front Street West) and pour chococlate sauce over the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, in reference to Day's comments that the men have a fridge full of juice, soymilk, and chcocolate sauce at Guantanamo North.
For more information: Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada, (416) 651-5800
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