(AFP) – Sep 16, 2008
A Sudanese-born Canadian Muslim accused of Al-Qaeda ties appealed to Canadian voters through his lawyer and rights groups on Tuesday to help him return home to Montreal from a six-year exile in Sudan.
"The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling on the government to immediately repatriate Canadian citizen Abousfian Abdelrazik," said CAIR-CAN spokesman Ihsaan Gardee, echoed by Amnesty International.
"The Canadian Muslim community, in particular, is watching the development of this case with great concern," he said, noting it was "eerily similar" to the recent ordeals of four other Canadians wrongly detained and tortured abroad.
Gardee also urged voters to press candidates in an October 14 election to campaign for Abdelrazik's prompt return to Canada. He is currently holed up at the Canadian embassy in Khartoum having said he fears for his safety.
"If there are valid security concerns in this case, deal with them lawfully and fairly through Canadian law in Canadian courts," said Alex Neve of Amnesty International.
"It is time for the government to take swift action to ensure Abousfian Abdelrazik is able to return to Canada," he said. "It is time for him to face justice, not injustice."
Abdelrazik has been trapped in Sudan since he traveled there to visit his ailing mother in 2002, after his name appeared on a United Nations no-fly list over his alleged ties to Al-Qaeda.
During his stay, he claims he was detained for two years and tortured by Sudanese officials, but faced no charges.
In late August, Abdelrazik managed to secure a seat on a flight that left Khartoum at 4:15 pm on Monday for Toronto, via Abu Dhabi.
The United Arab Emirates's Etihad Airway was willing to defy the no-fly order to accommodate him, his lawyer Yavar Hameed told AFP.
But Ottawa balked at issuing him an emergency passport, citing national security concerns, Hameed said.
Canada's Foreign Affairs department declined to comment Tuesday "as this matter is currently under litigation" to force his repatriation, a spokeswoman said in an email.
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