Rally for Hunger Striking Detainees

Posted by admin on Sep 1st, 2005

Rally for Hunger Striking Detainees

By Thursday September 1, Hassan Almrei will be on Day 71 of his hunger strike in a Canadian prison. Emaciated and weakened, he is at imminent risk of permanent, severe impairment and, very possibly, of death. Hassan Almrei has been imprisoned in solitary confinement without charge since October 2001 under a security certificate. A refugee, he is under threat of deportation to Syria where he risks torture. Hassan Almrei is demanding minimally decent conditions of detention; his main demand is the right to one hour a day of exercise outside of his cell. This is his 6th hunger strike in 4 years. Government authorities have so far callously refused to make the slightest concession. By Monday August 29, Hassan will know whether the court will hear his habeas corpus application for bail.

Mohammed Mahjoub will be on Day 56 of a hunger strike, also in a prison in Ontario. Majoub, who has been detained for 5 years, is asking for contact visits with his wife and children. Mohammed is an Egyptian refugee in Canada and is married with two children. Accepted as a refugee in Canada in 1996, Mahjoub denies terrorist ties and is fighting deportation on the grounds he would again face torture if returned to Egypt, where he was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in absentia for terrorism links. After the Sept 11th attacks, Mohammed was moved to solitary for seven months. Mohammed Mahjboub has only been able to hug his children twice in 5 years. His wife, Mona Elfouli, described the impact his detention has had on her and their two young children. “It was very, very difficult for me and the children,” she says. “Are they punishing the children or what? They feel sad.”

Mohammed and Hassan are two of the five “Secret Trial Five” whose lives have been torn apart by accusations that they are not allowed to fight in a fair and independent trial. All five men were arrested under “Security Certificates,” a measure of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) that has been described by Amnesty International as “fundamentally flawed and unfair”. Security certificates and secret evidence reverse the fundamental rule of innocent until proven guilty. Neither the detainee nor his lawyer are informed of the precise allegations or provided with the full information against him. They are imprisoned indefinitely without charges on secret evidence and face deportation to their countries of origin, even if there is a substantial risk of torture or death.


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