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CKA Uber
CKA Uber
Posts: 22594
PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 8:48 am

What Was The Role Of The Liberal Government In Abdelrazik Case?
September 24, 2009 — Raphael Alexander

We’ve heard no end of controversy over the Conservative government’s heel-dragging on the repatriation of detained Sudanese-Canadian Abousfian Abdelrazik in Sudan, which has culminated in a $27 million lawsuit against the Canadian government and Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon. But reading over the 31-page statement of claim by Mr.Abdelrazik’s lawyers against the government reveals some very interesting information pertaining to the role played by the Liberal government, who was in power and in control of the Abdelrazik file until January of 2006. It’s revealed in the documents that although the Liberal government had been heretofore largely downplayed in the media in regards to their specific knowledge about the case, that they actually played a significant role in perpetuating Mr.Abdelrazik’s suffering there.

In section 64 of the claim, days before a July 23, 2004 flight that had been purchased by his wife, Myriam St.Hilaire, was scheduled to leave, U.S. officials met with “senior Canadian government officials”. They asked if Canada would object to the United States taking steps to bar Mr.Abdelrazik’s return to Canada. “The request was made through channels to senior levels of the government in the Privy Council Office.” Canada agreed to allow the U.S. to proceed with barring the process, but did not notify consular officials in Khartoum.

It is therefore unlikely that the Paul Martin government was unaware of the events that were unfolding in Sudan at this time. Indeed, while the Privy Council Office is officially a non-partisan advocacy group of the government, it is concerned with coordinating the day-to-day issues of the government. The PCO is organized according to the personal agenda of each Prime Minister and his party policies, and are responsible for advice on intergovernmental affairs, security and intelligence, and foreign and defence policy. Those who work at the PCO are responsible for policy matters pertaining to perspective of the Prime Minister, and the Clerk of the Privy Council also serves as Secretary to the Cabinet and Deputy Minister to the PM.

Section 67 of the claim says that when the first flight attempt was blocked, consular officials in Khartoum, still not apprised by the Liberal government of their decision, decided to book another flight on Mr.Abdelrazik’s behalf for July 26, 2004. Before the reservation could be communicated to Mr.Abdelrazik, senior government officials cancelled it, and the next day the Director of Case Management for Consular Affairs, Konrad Sigurdson, ordered consular officials in Khartoum to take no further action on Mr.Abdelrazik’s behalf without prior approval of the PCO.

On July 30, 2004, a senior Consular Affairs official noted that Ms.St.Hilaire was attempting to find the funding to charter a private plane, and documentation notes that the government aimed to prevent such an action. In August, when CIDA Minister Eileen Carroll visited Mr.Abdelrazik, she was informed by Foreign Affairs that he was not to be allowed to return with her. By October, the now impatient Sudanese government offered to fly him to Canada aboard a private Sudanese jet. This was also blocked by Mr.Sigurdson, alleges the claim.

After this time, Mr.Abdelrazik was rearrested by Sudanese officials, and during his second incarceration the government changed hands to the Conservatives. We’ve heard much about events after this point, including the time spent sleeping in the Canadian Embassy, but not so much about the ones I’ve listed above. In the event that the Conservative government is dragged over the coals of this lawsuit, it should be noted that very early in his ordeal, less than a year after having been detained the first time by Sudanese officials, that the government had three clear opportunities to repatriate Mr.Abdelrazik, yet these attempts were blocked by the PCO. When evaluating the suffering that he endured after this period, it’s important to put into context the gravity of these early interventions to block his return. ... azik-case/

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