Non-status migrants and supporters are acquitted in occupation of Immigration Minister’s Office

Posted by admin on Feb 25th, 2006

— More than two years after being brutalized by police in Ottawa, non-status migrants and supporters are acquitted in occupation of Immigration Minister’s Office

OTTAWA, February 24, 2006 – Today, 12 protesters involved with the Action Committee of Non-Status Algerians and No One is Illegal were acquitted of mischief in relation to the occupation of the Immigration Minister’s offices in downtown Ottawa on May 29, 2003, more than two-and-a-half years

Two defendants – Mohamed Cherfi and Djamel Meziani –could not be present, because they were deported before trial. Mohamed Cherfi, the public spokesperson for the CASS, was forced to take sanctuary inside the St-Pierre Church in Quebec City in February 2004, in order to prevent a deportation order. However, his sanctuary was forcibly violated by police on March 5, 2004, and he was immediately removed to the United States. He spent more than one year in prison before being accepted as a refugee by the United States (a status he and hundred of others were denied by the Canadian government).

The original protest took place on May 29, 2003, when a delegation of non-status Algerians from Montreal, accompanied by supporters, took their demands directly to the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration in Ottawa. The office occupation was consistent with many previous actions and protests organized by the CASS since early 2002. The protesters went straight into the Minister’s office, and demanded a meeting. They spent the entire afternoon and evening waiting for a meaningful response. Instead, the police intervened. Shortly after 10pm, about 30 members of the Ottawa Police Services tactical squad, in coordination with the RCMP, charged the people occupying the waiting room. After forcing them to the ground, the police beat and tasered many of the men on their necks, backs, torsos and genitals. One man was bashed on the head with the butt of a taser gun, leaving a large gash on his forehead. Another man lost a tooth as a result of being punched in the face by a police officer. Several people have taser burns on the backs of their neck, backs and arms.

The verdict, while absolving the defendants of criminal charges, clearly does not resolve many fundamental injustices of this affair: Why were non-status Algerian migrants essentially tortured in order to be arrested on a minor charge? And, why haven’t the demands of the non-status Algerians on May 29, 2003 been recognized and acted upon by the Canadian government?

The verdict should not cloud the main demands that the Action Committee of Non-Status Algerians and their supporters have made clear for more than four years: the immediate regularization of all non-status Algerians living in Canada, as well as the return of those non-status Algerians who were removed from Canada against their will.

— No One Is Illegal-Montreal
noii-montreal at – 514-859-9023

  • NOII UPDATES , Non status
  • Comments Off on Non-status migrants and supporters are acquitted in occupation of Immigration Minister’s Office

Comments are closed.