Write a letter in support of hunger striking detainee

Posted by admin on Sep 21st, 2005

On Day 77 of his hunger strike, Mohammad Mahjoub is very weak and in constant pain. After 5 years of detention on secret evidence and without being charged, he does not wish to end his hunger strike, saying that it is the only way left for him to fight for his dignity and that of his family.

Mahjoub had asked to be hospitalized and yesterday September 20, he was taken to the hospital in Toronto after pressure on government authorities from friends, family and supporters across Canada. Mahjoub and his family hoped that while he was hospitalized, health care authorities would be able to properly investigate the conditions which have led to his hunger strike, including his Hepatitis C, and his knee injury. Instead Mohammad had a few tests and was taken back to the prison. He was told he did not need to be hospitalized for another two weeks. This is contrary to independent physician Dr. Pritchard’s report which states he needs to be hooked up to a heart monitor machine because there is a high risk of cardiac arrhythmia and there are signs he may already have kidney damage, which will worsen if the hunger strike continues.

Mahjoub, a secret trial detainee held over five years without charge or bail on secret evidence, is demanding from his solitary confinement cell immediate hospitalization to monitor his vital signs during this critical, dangerous phase of his hunger strike; a liver biopsy to check the progression of Hepatitis C contracted in the detention centre, and related medical treatment; and touch visits with his two young children, aged 6 and 8.

Mohammed Mahjoub is one 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.

During a delegation in Toronto, Mona Elfouli (Mohammed’s partner) was told by government officials that in the end, it was in Mr. Mahjoub’s hands. Elfouli directly told them that no, it was in the hands of the government, and that she would hold them responsible should Mohammed die. Ontario Premier McGuinty, only sent out a junior staffer with no authority who promised nothing, not even a commitment to a process to deal with the issues raised by the hunger strike. Similar actions have taken place in Montreal, Ottawa and other cities.
Write or call McGuinty and Kwinter, who will have blood on their hands should Mohammed die in custody. The pressure must be kept on until our brother’s demands are met.


Please keep up the pressure: Demand that Mohammad be hospitalized and properly monitored in a medical setting.

Premier Dalton McGuinty
PHONE: (416) 325-1941
FAX: (416) 325-3745

Monte Kwinter
Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services
Phone: (416) 325-0408
Fax: (416) 325-6067
Email: mkwinter.mpp@liberal.ola.org

I am writing to urge you to take immediate action to save the life of Mohammad Mahjoub, who has been detained without trial in an Ontario prison for over five years and is now on Day 77 of a hunger strike (as of September 20) to demand minimally decent conditions of detention. His main demands include proper medical treatment for hepatitis C (a prescribed liver biopsy has been denied), medical care for a knee injury, eyeglasses, and touch visits with his young children once a month.

Mr. Mahjoub is very weak and at imminent risk of death or severe, permanent impairment.

Please intervene immediately to ask correctional authorities to hospitalize Mohammad Mahjoub without delay. A man’s life is in your hands and failure to act immediately could have grave consequences.


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