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Project Threadbare Vows To Continue Fight To Protect Human Rights

Manzoor Joyia, the final Project Thread detainee still in detention, was illegally deported to Pakistan yesterday. He was the tenth person deported by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), in its attempt to sweep their incompetence behind Project Thread under the rug. CIC has moved quickly to carry out these deportations without allowing any of these men access to due legal process.

The situation facing those who have already been deported to Pakistan is grave. Upon their arrival in Pakistan three men were interrogated under federal custody for sixteen hours, released on bail and put under continued investigation by the Pakistani government. This mistreatment at the hands of the Pakistani government occurred despite the fact that these men were carrying a letter written by the Pakistani Consul General in Toronto. The letter, although explicitly clearing the men of any criminal charges, was vague in that it did not even mention the allegations of terrorism. It was also not enough to spare them from being persecuted by Pakistani authorities.

Pakistan is known to have a terrible human rights record. Pakistani authorities have blindly handed over people to American authorities without due process. Many of these people are now being held in Guantanamo Bay. As can be seen from the case of Maher Arar, anyone tarred with the label "terrorist" and handed over to the U.S. government is in grave danger. Some of the deported men have received threatening phone calls and fear for their lives. They want desperately to be able to seek refuge in Canada.

Project Threadbare fears the worst for Joyia and the rest of these men. The group is demanding that the Canadian government immediately provide an official statement clearing their names. It also demands compensation for the men and the turmoil they have suffered, and a public inquiry into the case. Project Threadbare, in coalition with other groups that work to protect immigrant and refugee rights, are actively seeking the termination of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that protects neither immigrants nor refugees.

Members of Threadbare are committed to fighting until all these demands are met.

Project Threadbare is a Toronto-wide coalition that came together in response to the arrest and detention on twenty Pakistani men and one south Indian man in August 2003. Project Threadbare refers to the RCMP investigation called "Project Thread" which, although it has produced no clear evidence of any wrongdoing by any of the men, is the basis on which they were all held.

CONTACT: Farrah Miranda 416.801.2923

threadbare@buzardpress.com