Court orders government to let Abdelrazik return
by Jim Bronskill
OTTAWA — A judge has ordered the Harper government to
arrange the return of a Montreal man stranded for years
Federal Court Justice Russel Zinn says the government
breached Abousfian Abdelrazik's constitutional rights by
not giving him an emergency passport to fly home. Zinn
ordered him returned within 30 days.
Abdelrazik, a Canadian with family in Montreal, was
arrested but not charged during a 2003 visit to Sudan to
see his ill mother. He says CSIS and American FBI
officers interrogated him over alleged terrorist links.
Sudanese authorities have released Abdelrazik, who
denies involvement in extremism, and the RCMP says there
is no information linking him to criminal activities.
He has been living in the Canadian Embassy in
In his judgment released Thursday, Zinn said the
government violated Abdelrazik's Charter rights by
failing to justify its decision to deny him a passport.
"In this case, the refusal of the emergency passport
effectively leaves Mr. Abdelrazik as a prisoner in a
foreign land, consigned to live the remainder of his
life in the Canadian Embassy or leave and risk detention
The judge said the government did not follow set
procedures in refusing the travel document, nor did it
explain whether Abdelrazik posed a security risk if
returned to Canada.
Zinn also found:
- CSIS was "was complicit in the detention" of
Abdelrazik six years ago;
- By mid-2004 Canadian authorities had determined
they would not take any active steps to assist the
man's return to Canada, and would consider refusing
him a passport in order to thwart his homecoming;
- The government's claim that Abdelrazik couldn't
fly to Canada due to his inclusion on a United
Nations security blacklist was actually "no
impediment" to his repatriation.
More than 140 Canadians chipped in to buy Abdelrazik
an airline ticket earlier this year. But he could not
leave Sudan without a passport.
Zinn said if the unused ticket is no longer valid, the
government must pay his airfare.
Paul Champ, one of Abdelrazik's lawyers, called the
ruling "pretty great."
"We're starting to see more and more cases where the
Federal Court is becoming more circumspect about the
actions of CSIS, and this is yet one more example of