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article imageCanadian Citizen Considered National Security Threat

By Bob Ewing     Apr 3, 2009 in Politics
Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon has denied Abousfian Abdelrazik and emergency passport as the minister considers him a national security threat.
Canada's federal government changed direction and has denied an emergency passport to Abousfian Abdelrazik. Adelrazik is a Canadian citizen and is blacklisted as a terrorist. The passport denial means he cannot fly home to Montreal.
Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon considers Mr. Abdelrazik a national security threat.
In a letter, the justice department said “the minister of foreign affairs has decided to refuse your client's request for an emergency passport.”
The department cited Section 10.1 of the Canada Passport Order which says “the minister may refuse or revoke a passport if the minister is of the option that such action is necessary for the national security of Canada or another country.”
This action reverses the government's written promise of three months ago to issue Abdelrazik an emergency passport if he had a paid-for ticket home.
Abdelrazik iscurrently residing in the Canadian embassy in Khartoum, where he has living for nearly 11 months.
“In order to facilitate Mr. Abdelrazik's return to Canada, Passport Canada will issue an emergency passport to Mr. Abdelrazik upon his submission of a confirmed and paid travel itinerary,” Lu Fernandes, director general of the agency's security bureau promised in a December 23, 2008 letter.
However, just last week, Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon added a new - and seemingly impossible - condition.
“It's up to him, its incumbent on him to make sure he gets off that list,” Cannon said, referring to the UN Security Council terrorist blacklist.
The Bush administration added Abdelrazik the list in 2006 and the Harper government previously tried – but failed – to get him delisted.
Abdelrazik is a Canadian and has been cleared of any terrorist or criminal involvement by both the RCMP and CSIS, who wrote to the foreign minister confirming their findings. He remains on the UN blacklist and a separate U.S. “no-fly” list.
“For six years I have tried to go back home to my children, but the Canadian government took my old passport and will not give me another one.” Abdelrazik said in a recorded statement released as the hours ticked down to his flight home.
“All this happened to me because the Harper government says I am an Islamic extremist. This is a lie. I am a Muslim and I pray to my God but this does not make me a terrorist or a criminal,” . Abdelrazik said.
Opposition MPs have demanded the government make good on the promise of an emergency travel document.
The blacklist imposes a travel ban which includes a specific exemption for citizens to return home. The Canadian charter of rights also provides all citizens with an unfettered right of return.
Abdelrazik's lawyer and supporters, including MPs from the three opposition MPs, said the government's decision is a shocking violation of the rights of a Canadian citizen.
“This is a very disappointing and outrageous response by the government,” said Yavar Hameed, Abdelrazik's lawyer.
“The government is now in violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” said Liberal MP Irwin Cotler.
NDP MP Paul Dewar said he believes racism lies behind the government's treatment of Abdelrazik.
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