(Toronto) Stop Deportation Of Hassan Almrei To Torture In Syria

Please forward far and wide:

Urgent Action Message from the Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada

Stop the Illegal Deportation of Hassan Almrei
Almrei To Face Same Torture as Maher Arar if Canadian Government Has Its
Way and Deports Him to Syria Within Two Weeks

Come to Court and Support a Motion for a Stay of Deportation
Wednesday, November 26, 9 am, Court 7-2, 361 University Ave.

Refugee Has Spent Over Two Years in Solitary Confinement in Toronto Prison
on "Secret "Evidence" Neither He nor his Lawyer is Allowed to See

* Contact Minister of Immigration Denis Coderre (info. below)

In a sign that the Canadian government has learned absolutely
nothing from the horrid kidnapping and torture experienced by Canadian
Maher Arar in the dungeons of Syria, the federal government is now
fast-tracking plans to deport refugee Hassan Almrei to Syria within two

A motion to stay the deportation will be heard in Federal Court,
361 University Ave., Courtroom 7-2, on Wednesday morning, November 26 at 9
am sharp. Supporters are urged to attend this crucial hearing.

The fast-tracking of deportation against Almrei is typical
behaviour for Canadian immigration authorities, who have also targetted
members of Montreal's various "non-status" Algerians, Pakistanis and
Palestinians when those communities have organized themselves to stop
these deportations.

Almrei, who has won international attention to his case and the
wretched conditions in solitary confinement at Metro West Detention Centre
with his recent 39-day hunger strike, would surely face torture and,
possibly, execution, if he were returned to Syria. That's the well-founded
opinion of three experts on the region as well as Amnesty International,
all of which has been ignored by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

CIC has prepared travel documents, received clearance from Syria
to "receive" Almrei, and is looking now to charter a private jet to return
Almrei to an unspeakable future sometime within the next two weeks. They
seem determined to keep him from having his bail hearing, where it will be
obvious that he has an extensive community of support in Toronto which is
more than willing to take him in if he's released from prison.

The fact that a secret trial security certificate against Hassan
was upheld in the sham hearing in 2001 will certainly not endear him to
Syrian authorities, who have been condemned as among the worst human
rights violators on the planet. The CIC decision notes that "the general
conditions in Syria shows that the human rights record of Syria is poor
and that detention and torture are not uncommon. I see no reason not to
accept this evidence." Yet the decision somehow manages to distort reality
and claim Hassan is NOT at risk if sent there, despite the fact that he
was granted refugee status in Canada in 2000 when he was found to be "in
need of protection against persecution" by the Convention Refugee
Determination Division of CIC.

In an apparent homage to the capacity of bureaucrats to exist in
some parallel universe wholly unrelated to ours, the decision regarding
Hassan's future comes up with this startling conclusion, one which flies
in the face of the past month's shocking headlines about the Arar case:

"Mr. Almrei submits that his risk is increased because he has now
been publicly identified as a refugee claimant and linked to a terrorist
organization. Mr. Almrei notes that other persons suspected of involvement
in terrorist organizations and returned to Syria -- particularly Mr. Maher
Arar -- are alleged to have been tortured, killed, or have been detained
indefinitely without charge. The totality of the evidence before me,
however, is inconclusive as to Syria's treatment of persons suspected of
involvement in terrorism."

(It should be noted here that there has NEVER been any proof that
Almrei is involved in what has been deemed "association" with
"terrorism.". But in the security certificate process, CSIS need not prove
any facts that someone might be associated with an organization whose
activities would make one inadmissible to Canada. Rather, they only need
to find that there are "reasonable grounds to believe" someone MIGHT be
connected to such an organization in the past, present, or future.

Upon a judge concluding the "reasonableness" of this potential
association -- with secret "evidence" neither the individual nor the
lawyer can see, much less challenge, because it is presented to a judge in
secret -- the decision is then bumped up to be read as "conclusive" proof.
Any reasonable person would conclude that a person tarred with this brush
would face torture of the kind seen by Arar as well as other Canadians
held overseas and tortured, such as Mssrs. Almalki and El-Maati (held in
Syria and Egypt, respectively).

The deportation decision extensively relies on Almrei's
association with Nabil Al-Marabh, someone tarred in newspapers post 9/11
as a terrorist kingpin, but who now sits in a U.S. jail on nothing more
than a minor immigration violation, ALL allegations of terrorist
association dismissed by a U.S. court.

There are numerous other allegations which would take up a fair
bit of space to explain here, but they really don't matter at this point.
What matters is that the Canadian government is prepared to send a sweet
young man who has never been charged with, much less convicted of, a crime
here in Canada back to Syria where he is certain to face torture and

The document says that Hassan meets the "extraordinary
circumstances" of the Supreme Court's Suresh decision, which said only in
the most exceptional of circumstances can someone be returned to torture.
But extraordinary circumstances would mean people who have actively
committed genocidal acts and other horrors; Hassan's biggest "crime,". for
which he has never been charged, seems to be helping someone get a fake

As the immigration document concludes, "even were Mr. Almrei to be
at substantial risk [of torture] if he is returned to Syria, the
extraordinary danger he poses to the security of Canada requires that he
not be allowed to remain in Canada."

This triumph of paranoia and racism, if allowed to go forward,
will further deepen the stain of blood on the hands of Canadian officials,
already in trouble over the Arar case and their refusal to bring home
Canadian Abdulrahman Kadr, the 21-year-old released from the U.S.-run
concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay in late October but repeatedly
refused re-entry to Canada.

Stay in touch, come to court, and write letters to and call
Coderre's office and call for an end to this murderous deportation order.

Denis Coderre, Minister
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L1
Phone: (613) 957-0312
Fax: (613) 957-2688

Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada
P.O Box 73620, 509 St. Clair Ave. West, Toronto, ON M6C 1C0
(416) 651-5800, tasc@web.ca, http://www.homesnotbombs.ca