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Friday, December 02, 2011

Canada citizen removed from UN terrorist list
Michael Haggerson at 1:56 PM ET

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[JURIST] Sudanese-born Canadian citizen Abousfian Abdelrazik [backgrounder] was removed [press release] from the UN Security Council [official website] Al Qaeda Sanctions List (1267 List) [text, PDF; materials] on Thursday. Abdelrazik was added to the list while being held in Sudan in 2006 based on suspected ties to al Qaeda [GlobalSecurity backgrounder]. He was seized while visiting Sudan in 2003 on a request from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service [official website], and he alleges that he was tortured [Montreal Gazette report] until he was released in 2004. Abdelrazik was denied the ability to fly home from Sudan because he had been placed on the US no fly list. In July 2006 the US officially designated Abdelrazik as a terrorist [press release, PDF] because he allegedly "provided administrative and logistical support to al Qaeda, and has been identified as being close to Abu Zubayda, a former lieutenant of Osama bin Laden, involved in al Qaeda recruitment and training," and the UN officially added him to the 1267 List. The 1267 List was initially established pursuant to UN resolution 1267 [text, PDF; official website] to control members of the Taliban and their suspected associates. The 1267 List was expanded [resolution 1390 text, PDF] in 2002 to include suspected members of al Qaeda and its associates. Individuals on the 1267 List [1267 fact sheet] are subject to an international ban on a travel, arms embargo and have all of their assets frozen. According to the 1267 guidelines [text, PDF] a criminal conviction or charge is not required for an individual to be placed on the list. Individuals are not informed when they are placed on the list and, prior to 2008, an individual placed on the list was not provided with any information as to why they were placed on the list. Abdelrazik had been the subject of a campaign to be returned to Canada and to be removed from the UN no fly list from several groups, including the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLM), Project Fly Home and End Torture Now [advocacy websites]. In Jun 2009 a judge for the Federal Court of Canada [official website] ordered [text] the Canadian government to fly Abdelrazik back home, but upon returning he learned that he had been placed on the 1267 and had not been removed despite being cleared of all wrongdoing. Being on the 1267 List made it impossible for Abdelrazik to get a job because he could not be paid since his bank accounts were frozen and it exposed his family members and friends to potential criminal sanctions if they gave gifts to him. Abdelrazik, along with ICLM and the BC Civil Liberties Association [advocacy website], is currently challenging [complaint, PDF] the Canadian legislation which implemented the 1267 List as a violation of section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom [materials] and sections 1(a) and 1(e) of the Canadian Bill of Rights [text].

No fly lists and other blacklists have been an issue of international concern in the wake of growing worry over terrorism. In July 2010 the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed suit on behalf of 10 US citizens and legal residents against the US government challenging their inclusion on the US no fly list [JURIST report]. Just like Abdelrazik, the ACLU argues that their inclusion on the US no fly list, without ever being informed as to why they were included, has left these individuals stranded abroad. In 2006, the FBI and the Transportation Security Administration [official website] agreed to pay the ACLU $200,000 in attorney's fees to settle a case brought by the civil rights organization in 2003 challenging the government's no-fly list [JURIST report] and requesting the disclosure of records. The documents noted that construction of the list was based on "two primary principles," but that there were "no hard and fast" rules governing decisions of who was put on the list. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] ruled in 2008 that those placed on the government's "no-fly list" can challenge their inclusion on the list [JURIST report] in federal district courts. The court held that the Terrorist Screening Center, which actually maintains the list, is a subsection of the FBI and is therefore subject to review by the district courts. Also in 2008, the DOJ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) [official website] issued a report [text, PDF] saying that the FBI had submitted inaccurate information to the list [JURIST report], that the information was rarely reviewed before its submission and even if discrepancies become apparent they were often left unchanged.




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