Mohamed Cherfi: Toronto Vigil At The Home Of Judy Sgro, Minister Of Citizenship And Immigration


Tuesday, March 9th
At the home of Judy Sgro,
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
7 pm
25 Veerland Drive, North York


6 pm
Lawrence West Subway station
Car shuttles will be provided
(see below for direction details)


On Friday March 5th, 2004, the safe haven of church sanctuary was violated by state authorities for the first time in Canadian history.

Mohamed Cherfi, one of the courageous and outspoken members of the Montreal-based non-status Algerian community, was arrested and dragged from the Saint- Pierre Church in Quebec City by local police, transferred into the custody of Immigration Canada officials, and sped across the border into US Immigration detention in a horrific deportation effort carried out in mere hours. He remains in custody in Batavia Detention Centre in Buffalo, New York.

As a member of the Action Committee of Non-Status Algerians (CASS), Mohamed has fought tirelessly to win landed status for hundreds of people who faced deportation after the Canadian government lifted a moratorium on removals to Algeria in 2002. In return, the Canadian state had targeted Mohamed, both by arresting him three times for participating in sit-ins and pickets, but also for removal. Friday's events are a vicious and unacceptable escalation of this treatment.

Clearly, the police used the guise of intervening on a criminal matter in Mohamed's case, specifically alleging that Mohamed was violating a condition specifying he live in Montreal by seekng safety in a Quebec City Church.

This overt operation by state forces sends a clear signal that Immigration Canada and their police lackeys have no qualms about violating church sanctuary - the final place of refuge to which people seeking asylum are forced to turn. The Canadian state is sending a clear message that they will go to extreme lengths to hunt down people fleeing deportation.

Mohamed had been forced into sanctuary after being denied landing on Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds by Judy Sgro's Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. While deportation operations are now carried out by Anne McClellan's Ministry, the Canadian Border Services Agency, it is Judy Sgro who has the power and responsibility to land people seeking status in Canada.

Mohamed's arrest and removal is not only a crime against an individual who has stood up against Immigration Canada's deportation machine and who faces return to a country currently under marshall law. It is a crime against all those people who have the right to seek safety and sanctuary in this country.

Therefore, we are calling on supporters, organizations, community groups, unions, and faith groups to issue public statements of condemnation to the media and public, expressing outrage about the reprehensible deportation of Mohamed Cherfi. We call on all supporters and allies to demand that the Ministers in question return and land Mohamed Cherfi immediately.

We call on all supporters to attend a vigil for Mohamed Cherfi at the Toronto residence of Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Judy Sgro, to demand that Mohamed be returned to his home here in Canada.

Tuesday, March 9th
At the home of Judy Sgro,
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
7 pm
25 Veerland Drive

Driving directions:
North on Keele
West (left) on Maple Leaf Drive
Past Culford, turn right on Veerland

TTC directions:
52 Lawrence Bus
from Lawrence Station or Lawrence West Station
Get off at Culford

6 pm
Lawrence West Subway station
Car shuttles will be provided

For more information, contact the Toronto Emergency Support Committee for Mohamed Cherfi. Call 416.925.6939 or email

For press inquiries, call Farrah Miranda at (647)296.9432 or Jean McDonald at (416) 834.3730

A Solidarity Committee for Mohamed is active in Quebec City. They can be reached at 418-262-0144 or

The No One Is Illegal Campaign in Montreal can be reached at or 514-859-9023.

For a PDF flyer about the Vigil, go to:

Please call/fax the Ministers below and demand Mohamed be brought back to Canada and landed:

Anne McLellan, Minister of Public Safety & EmergencyPreparedness Fax: (613)990-9077, Tel: (613)991-2924,

Judy Sgro, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Fax: (613) 947-8319 Tel: (613) 992-7774,

Michelle Courchesne, Minister of Quebec Immigration Phone: (418) 644-2128 Fax: (418) 528-0829