Federal Court of Canada Gives the Green Light to Deportation to Torture
Immigration Decision to Deport Mahmoud Jaballah to Torture or Death Ruled "Lawful"
Decision Defies United Nations Call on Canada to Respect Absolute Prohibition on Deportation to Torture
(SEE INFO ON MARCH 20 TORONTO PROTEST AND CONTACT MINISTER OF DEPORTATION BELOW)
TORONTO, MARCH 16, 2006 -- In a stunning judicial decision that comes almost one year after the United Nations called on Canada to respect the absolute prohibition on deportation to torture, Federal Court judge Andrew Mackay has essentially given the green light to deport Mahmoud Jaballah to torture or death in Egypt.
Today's decision found "lawful" the conclusions of an immigration ministry delegate, R.B. Thornton, who in September, 2005, concluded that Mr. Jaballah should be denied protection as a refugee even though "there is the possibility that Mr. Jaballah will be subject to torture or even the death penalty if he were to return to Egypt." In the same decision, he says that the alleged "danger" that Mr. Jaballah is supposed to pose to Canada "outweighs the risk...that he faces upon removal to Egypt."
(Of course, the nature of the "danger" has never been revealed to Jaballah or his lawyers, and is based on a secret case put together by CSIS, the spy agency which annually gets reprimanded for not getting its facts right and for injecting bias and feelings into what are supposed to be objective, fact-based reports).
Judge Mackay plays around with wording, claiming that this decision is merely a denial of protection and not a decision to deport to torture, but there are in reality no other options available for Mr. Jaballah. Indeed, if Canada denies him protection, and there is no other country where he can go, a torture chamber in Egypt is the logical conclusion. Jaballah is scheduled to have a third security certificate hearing later this spring. If that certificate is upheld, Mackay says, it would become a deportation order, and only then could the questions about Jaballah's rights not to be deported to torture be raised. In the meantime, he and his family, dealt yet another blow, continue to live in the torturous limbo of not knowing their future.
Jaballah, a father of six held without charge or bail since August, 2001, on secret evidence neither he nor his lawyers are allowed to see, claimed refugee status when he and his family arrived in Canada in May, 1996, following a decade of persecution, arbitrary arrests and detentions without charge, and torture in Egyptian prisons. Held eight months in 1999 on a security certificate, he was cleared of all allegations by a Federal Court, yet re-arrested two years later with CSIS admitting they had no new "evidence," only a "new interpretation" of the old evidence which had already been dismissed as not credible.
The latest immigration ministry decision, based on guilt by alleged association, secret information not available to Jaballah or his lawyers, and huge leaps of illogic, is upheld without question by Mackay, who states, despite the secrecy, that "the basic elements of procedural fairness appear to have been met in the process followed leading to the decision in this case."
Mackay's decision is also remarkable for casting aside Canada's signatory status to the Convention Against Torture, which prohibits under ANY circumstances deportation to torture. "Significant as that obligation is and though it may be persuasive in interpretation, it is not determinative of the application of [the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, under which security certificates are issued]," Mackay states. He also ignores the fact that s-s 3(3)(f) of the act states that the act must be construed and applied in a manner that "complies" with international human rights instruments to which Canada is a signatory.
Mackay also seems to have swallowed the propaganda that Canada is threatened by terrorism, an allegation repeated daily in the press but never backed up with any solid information.
Further background on the Jaballah decision and the wretched immigration report that was found to be "lawful" can be found at http://www.homesnotbombs.ca/jaballah2.htm
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1. Monday, March 20, 12 Noon Sharp, Meet at Union Station on Front Street (by the old clock), Walk to CSIS Toronto Headquarters at Front and John (across from the CBC). No Deportations to Torture!
2. PRESSURE NEW MINISTERS OF DEPORTATION AND "PUBLIC SAFETY" TO END THIS ODIOUS PRACTICE OF DEPORTATION TO TORTURE
Please send letters to Immigration Minister MONTE SOLBERG (address below), whose delegates continue making these dreadful deportation decisions, and cc them to Prime Minister STEPHEN HARPER (email@example.com ), Stockwell Day, Public Safety Minister
Stockwell Day, MP
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Monte Solberg, MP
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Phone: (613) 954-1064
Fax: (613) 952-5533
Dear Mr. Solberg:
I am writing to demand that the Canadian government stop defying international and domestic law in its efforts to deport to torture Egyptian refugee Mahmoud Jaballah, as well as the other secret trial detainees -- Mohammad Mahjoub, Hassan Almrei, Mohamed Harkat and Adil Charkaoui. It is clear both from the Canadian government's own assessments and the opinions of respected international human rights groups that the lives of these men are at risk if deported.
Officials in the Canadian government consistently speak out against torture, yet still make decisions to deport people to torture. Of course, the fact that deportation to torture hangs over the heads of the Secret Trial Five -- and that these men have been jailed indefinitely without charge on secret "evidence" for years on end, separated from their loved ones, often in solitary confinement, never knowing what will happen -- is a form of torture as well, which can only be remedied with immediate release from this unjustified incarceration.
Canada has consistently said it wants to be part of a world climate in which there is respect for the United Nations, yet how can Canada say it supports the United Nations and then ignore the United Nations Committee Against Torture, which called on the Canadian government in May , 2005 to respect the absolute prohibition on deportation to torture that Canada is legally bound to respect?
Will your government continue to defy the United Nations and choose to deny protection to Mr. Jaballah and the other men currently subject to secret trial certificates?
It is time for you as immigration minister to put a halt to these deportation proceedings and bring Canada in line with international law. Indeed, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act states that its provisions must be construed and applied "in a manner that complies with international human rights instruments to which Canada is signatory." This would obviously include the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and its absolute prohibition on deportation to torture.
As Maher Arar wrote on October 2, 2005, "Canada has a choice to make and I hope it chooses the right one by committing not to send people back to countries where they will face a substantial risk of being abused and tortured."
I anxiously await your reply to my letter and hope that you, as Immigration Minister, and the rest of your government, will make the right choice.
Name and address
Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada, PO Box 73620, 509 St. Clair Ave. West, TorONto, ON M6C 1C0, (416) 651-5800, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.homesnotbombs.ca
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