Thirteen Years


June 26, 2013 by admin

Today marks thirteen years since Mohammad Mahjoub was arrested under an immigration security certificate in Toronto. Since then, he has never ceased fighting to clear his name: first, from Toronto’s Metro West Detention Centre (June 2000 to April 2006), then Guantanamo North in Kingston (April 2006 to summer of 2007), under house arrest with his entire family (summer 2007 to March 2009), Guantanamo North again (March 2009 to early 2010), and finally, to the present day, under varying forms of house arrest and restrictive conditions, living alone in Toronto. He has waged hungerstrikes, spoken out on every occasion, and actively engaged in his legal case.

Since December of last year, Mohammad has been waiting for a Federal Court decision in his case. He has used the time to continue his campaign – among other things, speaking in Ottawa and Montreal, and embarking on a speaking tour of Western Canada.

But from his home in Toronto this week, he said that, ‘It is very hard; I don’t know when it is going to end and how. I feel that all over the world, laws have changed and people are challenging oppression, yet I continue to struggle.”

Last fall, Egyptian courts overturned the sole conviction against him; a conviction resulting from the thoroughly discredited “Returnees from Albania” trial, the fabric of CSIS’s case against him in Canada. And just last week, Mohammad learned that one of his co-accused in the Returnees from Albania case had been completely exonerated and granted permanent residency by Sweden, where he was reinstated in 2012. But in Canada, Mohammad’s case continues.

It continues even though recent years and months have proven that, even on the inside, officials no longer believe in the case. Last year, media revealed that a 2008 internal review of Mr. Mahjoub’s file concluded that, “the bulk of information” used against him was associated with torture. And it came out last month that Bob Paulson, current head of the RCMP, told an internal government review in 2009 that the security certificate process was “… completely off the rails.”

Mohammad says, “I feel isolated from the world. I can’t see my family in Egypt; we have been separated for 23 years. My sisters have said to me on the phone several times that they hope that we can see each other at least once again before we die. My family here is broken. It is very painful. It is very harsh.”

Although the Federal Court ruled in March that Mohammad could finally have access to the internet, the government has succeeded in blocking the full promise of the ruling, including preventing Mohammad from using email.

“Even though the court order allows me to speak to my family in Egypt by skype, in the last six months my jailer, CBSA, has continued to come up with different excuses to make it impossible for me to communicate with my family,” said Mohammad.

Thirteen years of immigration detention.

The Justice for Mahjoub Network is calling on supporters to take action when the decision is finally rendered. We will have one week’s notice before the decision is made and will be letting our supporters know immediately. Please plan actions that you can organize quickly and email to keep us in the loop and receive updates.

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