The Globe and Mail was all up in the face of the Harper government yesterday after a federal court judge ordered that Abousfian Abdelrazik--the Canadian citizen imprisoned, tortured, and stranded in Sudan for the past 6 years--be returned home to Canada posthaste.
Kudos to Globe journalist Paul Koring for following the case so meticulously and outing the injustice at every turn. Cheers to Gerald Caplan for penning a scathing op-ed without referencing Kafka (everyone else did, including the judge, who likened Abdelrazik to the protagonist in The Trial). Grudging thumbs-up to cherry-picking human-rights guru and Liberal MP Irwin Cotler and celebrated Israeli writer David Grossman for their rebuke of Harper and CSIS.
Excerpts from the Globe's friday blitz of the Abdelrazik story:
"To the very end, the Harper government maintained a consistent attitude toward Abousfian Abdelrazik: mean-spirited, callous, destructive. Instead of announcing that they were willing at long last to allow this innocent Canadian citizen to return home from Sudan, instead of a hint of remorse for his ordeal, instead of explaining how our government intends to help him restore the life they stole from him six years ago, all he and we got was a begrudging eight words from the Minister of Justice."
"[Maher] Arar got an apology from Prime Minister Stephen Harper and $10-million in compensation for Canada's role in getting him shipped to Syria where he was tortured. In Mr. Abdelrazik's case, the involvement of Canadian governments lasted far longer and was more direct..."
"After such a judgment, our government has little moral choice. This case is no longer about legal arguments, if it ever was. It is about a Canadian citizen stranded in Sudan and a government that has shown wrongful resolve in keeping him there."
--Irwin Cotler and David Grossman
"The document, marked 'secret,' shows that the Bush administration knew Sudan was about to release Mr. Abdelrazik from prison in the summer of 2006, and wanted help from Canadian police and anti-terrorism agents to try to charge him."
"As well as the Conservative government, a previous Liberal government was involved in denying Mr. Abdelrazik the right to come home. But since the Liberals were in power, two major inquiries, including one into Canada's role in the Maher Arar affair, have criticized Canada for how it deals with torture states. The Conservative government had an obligation to learn something from all that."
Here, too, is the Globe's timeline of events in the Abdelrazik affair. Notable is what Conservative Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon did personally to deny Abdelrazik his rights.
Related Tuque Souq post: Canadian in Khartoum celebrates year of squatting in embassy