Day of Action and 24-hour vigil against Security Certificates

Posted by admin on Dec 9th, 2005

Day of Action and 24-hour vigil against Security Certificates

TIME: 12 NOON – 2 PM
including speakers, performers, musicians, art work! please bring banners, placards, art, noisemakers.

The demonstration will be followed by a
24-HOUR VIGIL: The vigil begins after the demo and ends at Noon on Sunday Dec. 11

As you read this, five Muslim men remain held without charge or bail on secret evidence neither they nor their lawyers are allowed to see, in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. They have been detained, as of October 2005, a collective total of 223 months in Canadian prisons, much of it in solitary confinement, without charge, without bail, on secret “evidence” which neither they nor their lawyers are allowed to see, and all are at risk of deportation to torture or death.

These men are not some shadowy figures in a passport photo. They are teachers, students, poets, artists, parents, husbands, friends and workers. Their names are:
Mohammad Mahjoub (detained, June 2000);
Mahmoud Jaballah (August 2001);
Hassan Almrei (October, 2001);
Mohamed Harkat (December, 2002);
and Adil Charkaoui (May, 2003).

In honour of Human Rights Day, No One Is Illegal-Vancouver is calling for a DAY OF ACTION on SATURDAY 10 DECEMBER to demand FOUR things:
1. That the five men be released immediately; or, if any case against them actually exists, that they be allowed to defend themselves in open, fair and independent trials with full disclosure of the case against them.
2. That they not be deported.
3. That the federal government abolish the secret trial security certificate process.
4. That CSIS, RCMP, and CIC end its ongoing harassment and intimidation of individuals and communities of Arab, Middle Eastern, and South Asian heritage and/or Muslim faith.

On International Human Rights Day, December 10, which is also the second anniversary of the detention of one of the Secret Trial Five, individuals and groups concerned about secret trials and deportation to torture will be protesting in Vancouver to force the Canadian government to listen to the voices of the wives, children, and supporters of today’s detainees.

The men and their families have been subject to years of imprisonment, solitary confinement, loss of friends, poverty, confusion about WHY they are detained, and daily uncertainty about whether they will be removed in the night to face torture overseas in the morning. None have ever been charged of any wrongdoing. None have been given access to any reasons for the detentions.

Hassan Almrei went on a 73-day hunger strike to get one hour of exercise daily, a right granted to all prisoners but not to the detainees – a request which was quashed in court last week. Mohammad Mahjoub endured a 79-day hunger strike simply to get proper medical treatment for an illness he contracted while in detention. Mohamed Harkat awaits a ruling which will decide whether Canada intends to torture and kill him by carrying through with his deportation. Mahmoud Jaballah awaits news on a similar decision, despite a Government of Canada pre-removal risk assessment officer’s conclusion that “there are substantial grounds for believing that the applicant [Jaballah] would be killed or tortured should he be required to return to Egypt.” Adil Charkaoui, released to house arrest and under strict surveillance, continues to live with the daily threat that Canada will carry out his deportation to torture using secret evidence. The detainees have been denied touch visits with their children and families, and are now to be moved to a prison three hours away from Toronto, which will isolate them further from their communities of support. And this is continuing, despite the United Nations’ condemnation of Canada’s use of detention based on mere suspicion, and deportation to torture and death.

The attacks on the dignity and rights of these men is part of a much broader attack on refugees and immigrants, and very specifically Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities. Standing up for the rights of the Secret Trial Five is a concrete way to confront the politics of racist fear, which is being used to justify expanding governmental powers and war policies. Join us on Saturday December 10 at 12 Noon at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

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