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Sudanese refugee sues Canadian government over terrorism accusations

Abousfian Abdelrazik seeks $500,000 in damages


 

Abousfian Abdelrazik during a press conference in Montreal in December 2011. (Paul Chiasson/CP)

Abousfian Abdelrazik, a Canadian citizen born in Sudan once accused of having links to Al-Qaida, is suing the Canadian government for half a million dollars in damages claiming an unnamed government official leaked documents which smeared him as a terrorist years after the RCMP and CSIS found insufficient evidence for the label.

Abdelrazik came to Canada as a refugee from Sudan in 1990, becoming a citizen five years later. In 2003 on a visit to Sudan, he says he was imprisoned without charge and held for nearly three years. While there, he says in his lawsuit, Canadian Security Intelligence Service agents interrogated him before his release in July 2006.

Shortly after his release, he was listed as an Al-Qaida associate by the United Nations Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee, which subjected him to a travel ban and an asset freeze. While the sanctions didn’t prohibit him from returning to Canada, the Canadian government refused him a temporary passport until 2009 when the Federal Court of Canada compelled authorities to bring him back, finding Abdelrazik ’s charter-mandated mobility rights had been violated. He returned to Canada that year.

As early as 2007 both the RCMP and CSIS formally confirmed in letters to cabinet there was insufficient evidence to label Abdelrazik a criminal or a terrorist. Armed with those letters in early 2011 he petitioned the UN to remove his name from its terror list.

It was shortly after that Abdelrazik claims the government of Canada launched a smear campaign against him. Abdelrazik alleges an unnamed government official leaked a story to Montreal’s La Presse newspaper in August 2011, which alleged he had participated in terrorist activities between 1997 and 2001. The story was reportedly based on secret documents prepared by CSIS alleging Abdelrazik’s participation in an alleged plot to attack an aircraft traveling to France from Montreal. In addition, it claimed his car contained traces of explosives, and that he had attended an Al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan.

Abdelrazik publicly denied the allegations after they were picked up by a variety of media outlets, and in the lawsuit characterizes them as “inflammatory, selective and grossly unfair.” He claims the leak was timed specifically to derail his bid to be removed from the UN committee’s list, causing him “anxiety and anguish.”

Faced with few options to shake the terrorist label, Abdelrazik is now taking the Canadian government to court, claiming the leak that set off the media firestorm amounted to misfeasance in public office on the part of Canada’s Attorney General. Earlier this month, he filed a statement of claim in the Federal Court of Canada claiming the leak and subsequent media coverage damaged his reputation, threatened his well-being and caused him emotional and psychological distress. He’s seeking $500,000 in damages.

“There is a pattern of Canadian government officials unlawfully leaking documents or information about individuals suspected or perceived to be associated with terrorist activities,” the complaint states, adding that the story is similar to the case of Maher Arar, who was also smeared by government leaks which Arar Inquiry Commissioner Justice Dennis O’Connor said were designed to harm the Syrian-born engineer, conduct which O’Connor called “egregious.”

Whether Canadians are sympathetic to Abdelrazik ’s plight is questionable, but it’s clear that the Tory government is not. According to the lawsuit, both former CSIS head Richard Fadden and former Immigration Minister Jason Kenney alluded to Abdelrazik in public speeches, cautioning Canadians to give agencies the benefit of the doubt in such cases while criticizing “news stories that portray those accused of terrorism as ‘quasi-folk heroes.’”
The government has yet to file its response. The office of the attorney general was not immediately available for comment.


 

Sudanese refugee sues Canadian government over terrorism accusations

  1. I dunno. When a government says, “Just trust us” and taps you lightly on the head and tells you to go back to your corner and stay quiet, you’d be greatly amiss not to start asking questions. The government response is as disquieting (or moreso!) as the notion that this man may actually have something to hide.

  2. Sorry idiot, Canada is not responsible for your travel issues. In fact, your stupid to go back to the old country as they love extorting ex-pats for money and corruption.

    • Abdelrazik was from Montreal, you moron. Now what were you saying about extortion and corruption?

      • Didn’t read the story DvS?
        He was from the Sudan you dimwit…that’s what a refugee is..a person who is running from another country. – usually they don’t go back unless the conditions for their leaving are resolved.
        In this case, they weren’t.

  3. The Abdelrazik story is one of thinly-veiled racism by the Harper government. A fellow citizen, he was marooned abroad for six years because of this government’s malfeasance. The judgement ordering that travel documents be issued is a pleasure to read.

    I’m curious, though. Does he not already have a massive lawsuit going? Is this one in addition to the one reported some time ago that dealt specifically with the marooning issue?

    • I’m curious too. There was, at one time, a $30M lawsuit against the government and a separate $3M suit against Lawrence Canon, the disgraceful Foreign Affairs minister at the time, who was cited as acting in ‘bad faith’ after promising and then reneging on the promise to issue a temporary passport.

      As for secretly leaking misinformation to discredit someone, the Harper government has done that so often (and been caught), that no one should be surprised by this.

    • If this “citizen” was such an upstanding man, why, instead of learning about Canadian culture and customs, and trying to become as close to a real Canadian as possile, why did he go back to where he claims he was persec uted and in danger?
      Seems as though as soon as his pockets were full, and he had his passport of convenience, – off he went.

      Where’s the proof he wasn’t there as a terrorist? You can’t really trust someone who lies about his safety to get into a country, then thinks he can go back once he has gotten Canadian citizenship.

      Sorry – it’s not being racist- it is just plain common sense to be suspicious of this guy.
      Look at who is responsible for most terrorist attacks. He’s lucky he was able to get into Canada in the first place. His ingratitude is just ignorant.
      His sense of entitlement is greatly exaggerated.

      • Sorry – it’s not being racist- it is just plain common sense to be suspicious of this guy.

        He was is a Canadian citizen. So what if he was a refugee? Where were your grandparents from Julie? Or great grandparents? Have you been there?

        I guess he should have learned more about common sense so he could be more like you, Julie Laflamme.

        • I fhe was a Canadian citizen, why wasn’t he in Canada, working and contributing to the country that offered him safe asylum, rather than snivelling aorund the place he left in fear.

          Betcha he was involved in some shady business. . Slimey muzzie!

          Someone should have given him a good boot in the ar$end, and left him in Somalia.
          What an ugly face. .

          • why wasn’t he in Canada, working and contributing to the country

            Like you Mike?

            Do yo have a big “L” tattooed on your forehead? You might consider that. Trust me, it’s really YOU, dude.

  4. If the Canadian government is attacking a citizen like this it is a concern for us all. Before we can make a judgement there are a few questions. What was the basis of this refugee claim. What changed in Sudan from 1990-2003 that made it possible for him to return. What has he done since arriving in Canada?

  5. If he was a refugee from the Sudan, why did he go back?
    Funny how these people come here and live off Canadians , take advantage of all our social programs and then head back to their “abusive” country – then have the nerve to sue when they get nabbed acting suspicious.

    Maybe we should look at what sorts of : refugees: we let in, and place them on a longer probationary period- and expel them permanently if they make these false claims about being mistreated.
    So what has this parasite contributed to Canada?

    • Puke!

      • I read that the Canadian government is about to do something about all these immigrants who pretend to want to become Canadians and as soon as the ink is on a passport they are off and running to continue their fight with their own country……there is supposed to be 300,000 Chinese in Hong Kong and mainland China that expect us to take them back as soon as the living gets dangerous over there……..when is this going to stop….we have already had a huge number evacuated from Lebanon under similar cirumstances………..if you apply for Candian Citizenship and as soon as you get it ….you leave….hasta la vista baby….you are finished as a Canadian Cititzen……….and no more Births for Citizenship……and all prior Births where the mother entered Canada to have a child and then left…no Citizenship will be acknowledged.

        • Having the government tell us where we can and can’t travel in the world sounds like a great idea.
          Maybe we could also put old folks on one-way plane rides and revoke their passports when they stop being productive and spend all their time calling in to talk radio shows to complain about immigrants, homosexuals and kids these days.

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