Urgent Update from the Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada, re Hunger Strike at Canada's Guantanamo Bay
Tomorrow (Friday, February 2), family members of the detainees will be in Ottawa to plead with the government to intervene and bring an end to the hunger strike. Below is a brief update from a press release that is going out today.
You can help!
At 11 am central standard time, we will be in front of the Prime Minister's office seeking an emergency meeting. From wherever you are, please start calling at 11 am-11:30 am to (613) 992-4211 and urge:
1. That family members of the hunger strikers and one supporter be allowed in.
2. That Mr. Harper intervene immediately to meet the demands of the secret trial detainees and help end the hunger strike.
3. That Mr. Harper instruct Stockwell Day to immediately appoint the Correctional Investigator (an independent ombudsperson responsible for federal prisons) to assume jurisdiction over the Kingston Immigration Holding Centre.
If you can please also call Stockwell Day or email him the same message as in point # 3 above:
Stockwell Day, MP
House of Commons, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Phone: (613) 995-1702
Fax: (613) 995.1154
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Families of Secret Trial Detainees To Seek 11th Hour Solution to End Hunger Strike;
Former Solicitor General Proposes Solution to Life-and Death Situation at Canada's Guantanamo Bay as Facility Rejects Outside Negotiating Team
PRESS CONFERENCE: 10:15 am, Charles Lynch Room, Centre Block, Parliament
RALLY: Steps of Parliament Hill, 10:30 am
FEBRUARY 1, 2007 -- On Day 70 of a hunger strike for secret trial detainee Mohammad Mahjoub and day 59 for detainees Mahmoud Jaballah and Hassan Almrei, friends, family, and supporters of the men will converge on Parliament Hill Friday, February 2 at 10:30 am to call on the federal government to immediately intervene and bring about an end to the crisis situation at Canada's Guantanamo Bay (aka Kingston Immigration Holding Centre, or KIHC)
Mona Elfouli, whose husband is Mohammad Mahjoub, and Ahmad Jaballah, the eldest of six Jaballah children, will be among MPs, a medical professional, and supporters addressing the media at a 10:15 am press conference in the Charles Lynch Room in Parliament. MP Bill Siksay will also participate. They will then proceed to the rally.
This 11th hour appeal to the government comes on the heels of the rejection of a special negotiating team that was prepared to go to the Millhaven Penitentiary today and work out a framework to resolve the many outstanding issues. Team members were to have included former Solicitor General Warren Allmand, internationally renowned refugee advocate Mary Jo Leddy, OC, Montreal imam Salam El Manyawi, and Karl Flecker, the national human rights and anti-racism director of the Canadian Labour Congress. Former NDP leader Ed Broadbent expressed a willingness to be part of the team, and has said he is available next week should the government change its mind.
"Is the government going to let our loved ones die?" Elfouli asks. "We are very, very concerned that the men are not receiving medical care, and that no one is talking with them about their demands."
In addition to being denied medical care, the men are also concerned about a punitive atmosphere at the Kingston Immigration Holding Centre, and the lack of an objective ombudsperson to deal with the many grievances that continue to arise.
Warren Allmand, meanwhile, is calling for the Correctional Investigator, the ombudsperson for all federal inmates except the three men on hunger strike, to assume jurisdiction over the KIHC, investigate the complaints, and "prepare an independent set of recommendations to assist in resolving this emergency situation. Unfortunately, there is no other independent ombudsman for these detainees and the Correctional Investigator provides the only hope of resolving the crisis. I urge the government to act quickly."
Last week, a group of 70 medical professionals called on Ottawa to immediately provide medical care for the detainees and ongoing monitoring of their vital signs as the hunger strike drags on. To date, they have yet to receive any medical care.
For more information: The Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada, (416) 651-5800
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