Justice Minister Rob Nicholson announced in Question Period Friday that the government will comply with, rather than appeal, the Federal Court decision ordering it to repatriate Abousfian Abdelrazik, stranded in Sudan since 2003.
As Chris Selley writes: “It’s all over but the thousands of unanswered questions”
How much did this July 2006 US Embassy memo figure in extending Abdelrazik’s exile?
“US Embassy DCM John Dickson made a demarche this afternoon re Abdelrazik . . . . He had been asked to deliver a message from the White House, specifically from senior levels of the Homeland Security Council. [US] Ambassador Wilkins might be calling Ministers Toves [sic] and Day tomorrow. Frances Townsend might also be calling.
“Dickson’s main message was that the US would like Canada’s assistance in putting together a criminal case against Abdelrazik so that he could be charged in the US. The US had information on Abdelrazik but at this point, it was not enough to charge him; the same might be true for Canada. If Canadian police or security agencies shared what they had, it might prove to be enough for the US to proceed, as the threshold for prosecution there was lower than here.”
Days later the US added Abdelrazik to the UN Security Council terrorist blacklist, despite not having sufficient evidence to charge him under their “lower threshold.”
And just so we’re clear here — the threshold for action was spectacularly lower. Recall that Maher Arar was renditioned to Syria the day after a wounded 14 year old Omar Khadr in Bagram prison was shown photos of Arar and coached into saying that “he looked familiar,” and the US evidence against Abdelrazik appears to be the unfortunate spinoff derived from waterboarding a schizophrenic halfwit 83 times in 2002 in order to elicit a false confession linking Sadaam and al-Qaeda that could be used to justify the US invasion of Iraq.
Here’s a question:
We don’t know what correspondence transpired after the memo above, written three years after Arar returned to Canada and during the time we were hearing advance notice of the O’Connor report which would clear him of all terrorism allegations two months later. Was Abdelrazik kept in exile at the Canadian Embassy in Sudan to avoid a similar debacle by someone who decided he was safer left there than he would be back in Canada?