Last month, Maclean’s wrote about Cindor Reeves, the brother-in-law of former Liberian warlord and president Charles Taylor. Taylor was forced into exile in 2003 and is now on trial in The Hague on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Reeves is now a refugee claimant in Canada.
Originally, Reeves was Taylor’s ally—he helped him smuggle diamonds and weapons between Liberia and Sierra Leone during the 1990s. But later he turned against Taylor and risked his life to bring him to justice, first by spying for MI6, the British foreign intelligence service, then by working with the Special Court for Sierra Leone, which eventually indicted Taylor.
Former high-level officials at the Special Court confirmed to Maclean’s that Reeves’s assistance was invaluable to them in indicting Taylor. They also said they had no information to suggest that Reeves had ever committed war crimes himself.
Despite this, and without providing any factual evidence, the Canada Border Services Agency, in an April 9 report to the minister of immigration, said Reeves should not be allowed to stay in Canada. The reason given was that there were “reasonable grounds” to believe that he had been complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity. CBSA suspended his claim to refugee protection, pending an admissibility hearing by the Immigration Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board.
But following the publication of the article in Maclean’s, CBSA reversed its position and has now withdrawn its request for an admissibility hearing. In a July 31 letter to the Immigration and Refugee Board, Brenda Lloyd, counsel to the minister of public safety, wrote: “At this time, as no substantive evidence has been accepted in the proceedings, the Minister is requesting a withdrawal of the allegations.” Reeves’s claim to refugee protection in Canada will now proceed.