Torture Survivor Abdullah Almalki Refused Entry to Air Canada Flight
Box 73620, 509 St. Clair Ave. West
Toronto, ON M6C 1C0
For immediate release
Abdullah Almalki Refused Entry to Air Canada Flight
Members of Stop Canadian Involvement in Torture Demand Answers for Why Almalki was not Allowed on Domestic Flight
December 7, 2009 – Members of Stop Canadian Involvement in Torture are expressing major concerns about the fact that, after being given a boarding pass for an Ottawa-to-Windsor flight on December 2, Ottawa resident Abdullah Almalki was not allowed onto the domestic Air Canada flight. Almalki, a Canadian citizen who was found to be tortured with the complicity of his own government, was supposed to have been in Windsor the next day to deliver a talk on “two-tier citizenship” as well as the manner in which the Canadian government was complicit his torture in Syria.
“The very day Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in China talking about the need to respect human rights, we have a Canadian citizen, Abdullah Almalki, turned away from a domestic flight that would have taken him to Windsor to talk about human rights,” says campaign spokesperson Matthew Behrens. “What is going on?”
At the last minute, Mr. Almalki, an Ottawa engineer and father of six, was informed he could fly to Toronto but not carry on to Windsor because he was apparently “restricted from travelling in US airspace.” In addition, Mr. Almalki found that his bag, despite being bound for a domestic flight, was opened and searched, but no sticker explaining that invasive intrusion nor indicating who searched his bag was placed on it.
Mr. Almalki, tortured almost a full two years in Syria based on false allegations and questions that came from Canada and, according to the secretive Iacobucci internal inquiry, based on allegations that were “inflammatory, inaccurate, and lacking investigative foundation,” is seeking an apology, accountability, and compensation for the ordeal that he and his family were put through by the Canadian government.
This incident occurred the day before the House of Commons passed a motion calling on the government to respect a series of recommendations from the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security which, among other things, calls on the “Government of Canada do everything necessary to correct misinformation that may exist in records administered by national security agencies in Canada or abroad with respect to Mr. Almalki, Mr. Abou-Elmaati and Mr. Nureddin and members of their families.” (Mssrs. El Maati and Nureddin, both of Toronto, were also tortured both in Syria and, in Mr. El Maati’s case, in Egypt, based on similarly false allegations.)
Asked by members of Stop Canadian Involvement in Torture how he felt about being turned away from the Air Canada flight, Mr. Almalki stated, “We have the O’Connor report more than three years ago, the Iacobucci report more than a a year ago – both of which confirm the Canadian complicity in my interrogation and torture in Syria – and now we have the MPs who represent the majority of the Canadian people in Parliament voting in favour of the government issuing an apology and correcting in Canada and abroad the huge and terrible misinformation that Canadian agencies falsely spread about myself and my family. When will the government act, and how much longer do my family and I have to suffer? Whose decision was it to prevent me from boarding a domestic flight to Windsor? I need answers, Canadians need answers.”
The refusal to allow Mr. Almalki on the Air Canada flight adds insult to the injury already sustained by the family earlier this year when they found out that his wife and oldest son, aged 15, had problems boarding a plane in Vancouver until his wife showed airport officials a copy of the 544-page Iacobucci internal inquiry report.
Stop Canadian Involvement in Torture is an organization that for a number of years has worked with Canadians who have been tortured with the complicity of their own government. In 2008, it organized two cross-Ontario caravans raising awareness of the issue and organizing speaking events featuring Mssrs. Almalki, El Maati and Nureddin.
For more information, or to contact contact Mr. Almalki, please contact Stop Canadian Involvement in Torture at (416) 651-5800 or visit www.abdullahalmalki.com.