Canadian Claims His Country Defamed Him

     (CN) – A Sudanese-born Canadian citizen sued the Canadian attorney general for $500,000, claiming he was falsely accused of having links to al Qaida.
     In his lawsuit in Federal Court in Ottawa, Abousfian Abdelrazik accuses the attorney general of misfeasance in public office.
     Abdelrazik says he came to Canada as a refugee from Sudan in 1990 and became a citizen 5 years later. He visited Sudan in 2003, and was imprisoned without charge there for nearly three years, he says in the lawsuit.
     In a Sudanese prison, he was visited and interrogated by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Abdelrazik says. He was released in July 2006.
     “Within days of the plaintiff’s release, he was designated by the United Nations Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee … as an associate of Al-Qaida and was added to the Consolidated List of persons associated with Al-Qaida,” the complaint states. “As an individual placed on the Consolidated List, the plaintiff was made subject to certain prescribed sanctions, including a travel ban and a full asset freeze.”
     Abdelrazik says that people placed on the list are not informed of the reasons and have no right to appeal, save for petitioning the UN committee to have their name removed.
     Abdelrazik, now of Montreal, returned to Canada in 2009 after the Federal Court concluded that his mobility rights had been violated under the country’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms when the government initially refused to issue him a temporary passport.
     “Since his return to Canada, the plaintiff has been working to restore his reputation and to return his life to a state of normalcy,” the complaint states.
     He’s petitioned the United Nations to have his name removed, claiming that “as early as 2007, both CSIS and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police … confirmed that there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the plaintiff was involved in criminal or terrorist activity.”
     His attempt to lead a normal life was derailed in August 2011 when Montreal’s French-language daily La Presse published an article based on leaked CSIS documents suggesting that he “had been engaged in terrorism-related activities between 1997 and 2001.”
     The documents alleged that Abdelrazik was part of a plan to attack an airliner en route to France from Montreal. The documents suggested that traces of explosives were found in his car and that he attended an Al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan, Abdelrazik says in the complaint.
     The allegations were widely reported by other media outlets, but Abdelrazik publicly denied them, and says the leaked information was “inflammatory, selective and grossly unfair.”
     He claims an unnamed government official timed the leak to harm his reputation and undermine his bid to be removed from the UN terrorist watch list.
     “There is a pattern of Canadian government officials unlawfully leaking documents or information about individuals suspected or perceived to be associated with terrorist activities,” the complaint states. “This also occurred to Maher Arar and Adil Charkoui. The plaintiff states that the earlier leaks were designed to subject these individuals to scorn and suspicion. Justice Dennis O’Connor, the Commissioner of the Arar Inquiry, found that the leaks about Mr. Arar were deliberate and designed to harm him. Justice O’Connor described this conduct as egregious.”
     Abelrazik seeks $500,000 in general, moral, aggravated and punitive damages against the Attorney General of Canada. He is represented by Paul Champ in Ottawa.
     Large areas of Sudan have been virtually lawless for years.

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