On May 11th, Mohammad Mahjoub stepped into a plane and flew to Ottawa. Banal for some, this ordinary act was hugely significant for the 51-year old father of two.
It was the first time in almost 12 years that Mr. Mahjoub has been permitted to travel outside Toronto. Mr. Mahjoub has lived under a so-called security certificate since June 2000; a total of eight years in prison and the remainder under house arrest – all without charge or fair trial. After the Federal Court lifted some of his conditions in February, Mr. Mahjoub courageously decided to undertake a multi-city speaking tour to meet supporters and speak out. Although he is still far from free, this trip is an important step towards his complete liberation. After twelve years of abuse designed to isolate, humiliate, and crush his spirit, it is also a true victory for human dignity.
The flight was also significant because Mr. Mahjoub had no trouble boarding. “Easier than public transport,” he said, alluding to the fact that he is not allowed to use underground public transportation. Millions of dollars have been spent to create the spectacle of a dangerous terrorist; but in reality Mr. Mahjoub is not considered sufficiently dangerous to even warrant a place on Canada’s notoriously catch-all no fly list!
Speaking with simple dignity and clarity, Mohammad Mahjoub captivated his audiences in Ottawa, Montreal and Kingston.
Audio & photo from his Montreal speaking event, 14 May 2012
He also participated in rallies in both Ottawa and Montreal, met with solidarity organizations, and enjoyed dinners with supporters. He gave interviews to a number of media outlets. He even managed to squeeze in a bit of tourism (photos: on Parliament Hill; in Parc Lafontaine in Montreal)!
Media coverage (includes video):
* This is what they did to me, PRISM Magazine, 17 May 2012
* “I will be a free man, inshalla, soon“, Catherine Solyom, Montreal Gazette, 15 May 2012
* Rassemblement pour dénoncer les certificats de sécurité, Radio Canada, 12 May 2012
* Former Gitmo North detainee Mohammad Mahjoub laments loss of family, Tobi Cohen, Canwest, 11 May 2012
The tour, coordinated by migrant rights and social justice organizations across Southern Ontario and Quebec, continues until May 28th. To find out when he is speaking in a city near you: www.supportmahjoub.org/the-twelve-year-tour/.
The tour is being organized in the lead up to 26 June 2012, which will mark 12 years of detention without charge, on the basis of secret, unsourced information tainted by torture. The Justice for Mahjoub Network is calling for solidarity actions on June 26th to express support for Mr. Mahjoub and opposition to the so-called security certificate regime and the racism underlying it.
* Please pass on this message to your networks and encourage people to come out to hear Mohammad Mahjoub when he comes to your town.
* If you can’t be in Toronto, please consider organizing a local event on 26 June, the 12th anniversary of Mohammad Mahjoub’s arrest, to demand that all remaining security certificate detainees be immediately freed, that all five receive compensation and citizenship and that authorities responsible be held accountable.
* We need financial support. Cheques should be made out to “No One Is Illegal Toronto” with “Justice for Mahjoub” in the subject line. Mail to Justice for Mahjoub Network c/o No One Is Illegal-Toronto, 260 Queen Street West, PO Box 60006, Toronto, ON M5V 1Z8. (Please confirm that you have made the donation by emailing email@example.com.)
The Twelve Year Speaking Tour is supported by:
Canadian Labour Congress, www.clc-ctc.ca
International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, www.iclmg.ca
No One Is Illegal (London, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver – Coast Salish Territories), www.nooneisillegal.org
Prism Magazine, http://prism-magazine.com
The tour is coordinated by:
Justice for Mahjoub Network
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