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Fredericton Peace Coalition supports Abousfian Abdelrazik

Dear Abousfian and supporters,

We are writing this letter to denounce in the strongest of terms the leak of false secret information about Abousfian Abdelrasik, which led to two La Presse articles being published that link Abdelrazik to unsubstantiated claims.

The timing of this smear campaign coincides with Abdelrazik’s application to get off the UN blacklist. Abdelrazik submitted an application for delisting to the UN committee that oversees the blacklist in January 2011. At the time of the publication of the two articles, Abdelrazik’s application was in the last stages of the review process and moving into the final, decision-making phase, in which Security Council members examine a report written by the 1267 regime’s Ombudsperson and decide whether or not to remove his name from the list. A decision could be made in days, weeks or months.

At this sensitive time, someone gave La Presse a secret document, written by CSIS for Transport Canada seven years ago, containing allegations against Abdelrazik. The Federal Court had earlier found those same allegations to be unproven; Transport Canada had not taken them seriously; and, in fall 2007, CSIS and RCMP told the Canadian government that they had no information against Abdelrazik. Furthermore, the UN Ombudsperson had, just weeks before the leak, asked Canada if it knew of any reasons why Abdelrazik should remain on the blacklist, and had been informed, again, that CSIS could provide no information indicating that he should remain on the list. Finally, the leak was illegal and the same story had already been leaked in June 2007. Despite all of this, national and international media ran with stories based on the wild allegations.

Abousfian categorically denies the many vicious allegations that were made against him in the media.

We hope that this media smear campaign will not negatively impact the outcome of Abdelrazik’s bid for freedom.

Although the leak was illegal, neither CSIS nor RCMP have made any moves to investigate it. Compare this to 2007, when the leak of a secret CSIS document containing the same allegations provoked a CSIS internal investigation and a criminal investigation by the RCMP. Though neither investigation ultimately produced any public result, the complete absence of even professed concern from officials or opposition this time around is certainly ominous.

Many of us in Fredericton had the opportunity to hear first hand from Abousfian Abelrazik of his struggles when he visited Fredericton in September 2009. He gave a public talk on September 29 which was attended by over 100 people, a considerable turn out in a small community. Based on the reports that followed, we are aware that he impressed and inspired those who attended.

Parallel to his delisting application, within Canada, Abdelrazik is currently challenging the legal basis of the 1267 blacklisting regime, which violates numerous human rights enshrined in Canadian law (see legal motion at www.peoplescommission.org/files/abousfianMedia/1267Application.pdf). Successful legal challenges have already been mounted in UK and European courts. Abdelrazik’s legal challenge may come to court as early as this fall, but a date has not yet been set for hearings.

Meanwhile, life under sanctions makes life very difficult for Abdelrazik. Child assistance benefits owed to him by the Québec government are still being withheld. Last month, the Régie des rentes finally sent the money owing to Abdelrazik to his bank, the Caisse populaire — and his bank promptly returned it to the Régie des rentes, demanding a certificate from the Department of Foreign Affairs, just as the Régie had done five months earlier.

We demand that accountability for the illegal leak of information. In light of the urgency of the situation for Abdelrazik, the Fredericton Peace Coalition supports Abdelrazik’s struggle for justice including accountability for the illegal leak of information and his immediate removal from the UN 1267 blacklist.

Sincerely,

Your friends at the Fredericton Peace Coalition

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