Violations of fundamental rights in Cherfi case

Posted by admin on Apr 21st, 2004


Wednesday 21st April 2004.

1. In the deportation risk assessment that was performed, the federal authorities did not take into account the fact that, for two years, Mohamed was a spokesperson for the Action Committee for Non-Status Algerians and that, as a spokesperson for the Committee, he denounced the Algerian government on many different occasions.

2. The federal cabinet minister of Immigration at the time, Denis Coderre, did not stop Mohamed’s deportation proceedings while his case was being reviewed by the Quebec minister of Immigration.

3. The police, under the direction of federal immigration authorities, used an illegal arrest warrant to enter into the sanctuary of the church, and then violated his right to appear before a court justice.

4. Canadian authorities transmitted to American authorities information painting Mohamed as a dangerous “professional activist” prepared to disobey the law “at all costs”. This is simply false. Mohamed is simply an advocate of the rights of non-status.

Many organizations and spokespersons have pointed out a large number of irregularities in the handling of Mohamed’s file. Recent information backs up suspected denial of his rights:

* Upon his deportation, a letter signed by Federal authorities was handed to Mohamed, indicating that his last resorts (Examination of risks of return and request on humanitarian grounds) was met with a negative response on December 12th, 2004. However, as of this date, Mohamed’s file was still under review with the staff of the Quebec Minister of Immigration, Ms. Courchesne. Furthermore, Minister Courschesne’s spokespersons stated, on Saturday, December 6th, during a meeting (with a representative of the Comité d’action des sans-statut), the lawyer chosen by Mohamed for a review of his case, Mr Jack Rosenfeld and Mohamed’s financial (garant), Mr Stéphane Rituit), that a Certificate of Selection could be issued to Mohamed on the condition that he seeks employment and it endorsed by a financial guarantor. According to the Minister’s representatives, this conditional acceptance would be signed at a forthcoming meeting. In a letter dated December 8th (enclosed), the MRCI confirmed that the notice about Mohamed’s course of integration was under review with the Minister’s cabinet. At the following meeting, on Saturday, December 13, where Mr Rituit was once again present, a sudden change: the Minister’s representatives announced that they could not grant a CSQ to Mohamed as there was an obstacle on the Federal level. “If Mr Martin wants to understand the many irregularities that occurred in the processing of Mohamed’s case, he can start by asking the Federal Minister of Immigration at the time when review of Mohamed’s file was blocked, Mr Denis Coderre.” stated Louise Boivin, Mr Cherfi’s companion.

We raise the following question: What caused Mohamed’s acceptance to be blocked by the Federal Minister of Immigration although Quebec has jurisdiction in immigration matters and in the special selection procedure for Algerians?

* A document issued by the US District Attorney during Mohamed’s first hearing before a US Immigration judge, on March 16th 2004, indicates that he opposed Mohamed being freed on bail during the proceedings. This position was backed up by information alleging that Mohamed had shown that he was ready to disobey the law “at all cost” and that he was a “professional activist” with links to the group of “Non-status Algerians”. According to information obtained from Albany Jail, during his transfer to Batavia, he allegedly was arrested while he took part in an occupation of a Federal office in Ottawa. Moreover, during an interview with two US intelligence service representatives in Albany, Mohamed observed that they were familiar with all his activities as a member of the Comité d’action des sans-statut, in Canada.

We raise the following questions:

Who turned the information about Mohamed’s political activities over to the US authorities: the Canadian Ministries of Immigration, of Public Security, Canadian Security and Intelligence Services? Why was this information, unrelated to the evaluation of his application for asylum but totally related to his right to freedom of expression and association? We want to know whether this information was also passed along to the civil servants and political authorities that refused his applications for residence in Canada (evaluation of his “course of integration” by Quebec, examination of risks of return and application on humanitarian grounds by Ottawa).

What has become increasingly apparent through the facts of his case is that Mohamed was targeted by the Canadian and Quebec governments and received “special treatment due to his involvement in the Action Committee for Non-Status Algerians and his participation in political protests and actions as a spokesperson for the Committee. Everything indicates that certain persons have judged, outside the legal and political framework, that Mohamed Cherfi must be turned down, arrested, deported and jailed “at any cost”, including violating sanctuary and setting up a police operation, at the behest of Immigration, as Captain André Fillion of the Quebec City police department has indicated (Le Soleil, March 7th 2004).

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