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Globe and Mail Update, Thursday, June, 4, 2009

Court orders Ottawa to allow Abdelrazik to return to Canada
Federal Court judge issues landmark ruling that Harper government has breached constitutional rights on man trapped in Sudan.

The Canadian government has violated Abousfian Abdelrazik's constitutional rights by refusing to allow him to return to Canada and must take steps to bring him home, a federal court judge ruled today in a landmark decision.

"Mr. Abdelrazik's Charter right to enter Canada has been breached by the respondents," Federal Court Judge Russel Zinn said in a judgment released today. "Mr. Abdelrazik is entitled to an appropriate remedy which, in the unique circumstances of his situation, requires that the Canadian government take immediate action so that Mr. Abdelrazik is returned to Canada."

The judge said that keeping Mr. Abdelrazik in forced exiled means he is "as much a victim of international terrorism as the innocent persons whose lives have been taken by recent barbaric acts of terrorists."

Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon has labelled Mr. Abdelrazik a threat to Canada and refused to issue him a one-way travel document to return to his family in Montreal.

Mr. Cannon claims that Mr. Abdelrazik poses a national security threat because the Bush administration put him on a UN blacklist of al-Qaeda suspects. Although both CSIS and the RCMP have cleared Mr. Abdelrazik of terrorist and criminal suspicions, Mr. Cannon said he will deny him a passport or even a one-way emergency travel document as long as he remains on the UN blacklist.

Mr. Abdelrazik has been living in the Canadian embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, for more than a year.

In his judgment, Justice Zinn bluntly tells the government that it must give Mr. Abdelrazik a travel document to get home.

The government is "directed to issue the applicant an emergency passport in order that he may return to and enter Canada," he ruled. He also gives the government 30 days to make travel arrangements and get him home.

If the government fails to have a ticket arranged within 15 days, the judge warns that federal officials may be hauled in to explain why.

The government could appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

"We are reviewing the decision," said Catherine Loubier, a spokeswoman for Mr. Cannon.

Supporters of Mr. Abdelrazik who have been thwarted in their efforts to bring him hope purchased a ticket for June 11.

Mr. Abdelrazik's lawyers were attempting to contact him this afternoon.


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