Open letter from hunger striking security certificate detainees

Posted by admin on Feb 14th, 2007


We are the undersigned Mohammad Mahjoub, Mahmoud Jaballah, and Hassan Almrei. We have been imprisoned over six years under so-called security certificates. We have never been convicted of any crime, much less charged with one. We have been told we are dangerous to the security of Canada and a threat to the public, without even seeing anything in evidence against us. Neither our lawyers or ourselves have the right to challenge or see what the government claims they have on us. These rights everybody takes for granted in this country or in any country that applies the rule of democracy.

Since our arrests we have been thrown in solitary confinement for years without any explanation, surviving in a small, concrete, frozen cell. We faced many difficulties in practicing our religion, or contacting our families, and countless nights without sleeping from hunger.

On April 24, 2006, the government decided to move us to a new facility after the provincial government’s refusal to keep us in their detention centre. From that time we are detained in a small trailer parked in a parking lot on the grounds of Millhaven.

Shortly after our arrival here we realized that we are in a no-man’s land and everybody applies his own rules: guards, supervisors, directors. We don’t know whose rules we should follow. Policies change by the shift. We thought our life at this facility will be better than Toronto West Detention Centre. Were we wrong in our thoughts?

This is all humiliating and insulting not only for ourselves but to our families as well.

We requested repeatedly that these unjust treatments be changed and to be treated as adult human beings. When all our requests and complaints have been rejected by the director to cover up her staff’s wrongdoing, we decided to engage in a hunger strike, which is the last option for us to change our conditions.

We are on a hunger strike for the last 80 days for Mahjoub, 69 days for Jaballah and Almrei. Until recently, we have never seen a doctor to treat us, not even one single time, even though we requested daily to see a doctor and get treatment. We would only see a nurse behind the closed door through a small glass window. We are unable to get to the so-called treatment room because of our fear of our own safety from the guards because we have been abused by them many times.

There were many many media reports about our hunger strike and 2 visits by Members of Parliament and several questions put to the government in the House of Commons about our conditions and hunger strike. Only then did the CBSA [Canadian Border Services Agency] decide to send a doctor to see us on February 7, 2007, for the first time, and order a supervisor to escort us to the treatment room to see a doctor and a nurse. We have requested a supervisor to escort us any time we have to move in the facility. The supervisor is only now being provided temporarily. This is not a solution.

We feel some small changes have happened here because of pressure from the public and MPs. But we still need your help to fix the big problems here. We may not have much more time, so please keep up the pressure in standing for our rights.

We thank you for all of your kindness and support. May Allah bless you and reward you for all of your efforts.

Mahmoud Jaballah, Mohammad Mahjoub, Hassan Almrei.

(letter dictated by phone to the Campaign to Stop Secret trials in Canada)

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