Open letter from Amnesty International Canada cites Benamar Benatta and Shahid Mahmood

  • December 13, 2007
  • David Baker
  • Comments Off on Open letter from Amnesty International Canada cites Benamar Benatta and Shahid Mahmood

In an open letter released today Amnesty International Canada cited the cases of two Bakerlaw clients – Benamar Benatta and Shahid Mahmood – as examples of why the Arar Commission recommendations must be implemented by the Canadian government.

“Benamar Benatta was summarily and almost certainly unlawfully handed over to US officials, six days after making a refugee claim in Canada on September 5, 2001. He was imprisoned in the United States for close to five years, even though he had been cleared by the FBI within two months of any suspicion of involvement in terrorist activities. In 2006 he was finally allowed to return to Canada, where he proceeded with his refugee claim and was recently granted refugee status. But he has been offered no explanations as to why he was handed over to the US in September 2001. His calls for a public review have gone unanswered. He has been left with no choice but to launch a law suit against the Canadian government. If Commissioner O’Connor’s proposed new system was in place, there would be somewhere Mr. Benetta could turn.

“Shahid Mahmood was not allowed to board an Air Canada flight from Vancouver to Victoria in May 2004 before Canada had an official no-fly list. He has unsuccessfully sought answers as to why that happened for over three years. He has recently decided that his only option has been to launch a formal complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission. If Commissioner O’Connor’s proposed new system was in place, there would be somewhere more expeditious Mr. Mahmood could turn.”

Click here to read the full letter from Amnesty International.

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