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<nettime> Fwd: OPEN LETTER from HUNGER-STRIKERS at Canada's "Guantanamo
Gita Hashemi on Thu, 11 Jan 2007 07:03:17 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> Fwd: OPEN LETTER from HUNGER-STRIKERS at Canada's "Guantanamo


as harper's conservatives (better known as right-wing radicals) have 
been busy solidifying their parliamentary and operational powers in 
canada without any effective opposition, the 'security certificate' 
remains the extra-judicial measure that gives canadian government and 
secret service powers similar to their u.s. counterparts.  important 
to note stockwell day, currently minister for border security, 
formerly was the leader of the racist reform party that was folded 
into the present conservative party formation.  the detainees who've 
written the letter below have been on hunger strike for a while.  as 
expected, there is almost no reflection/reporting about this in 
canadian mainstream media.  these men, and the 'toronto 17' 
detainees, have all but been dropped from canada's dominant political 
discourse that fabricates our national identity as a democratic 
nation of peace-keepers!

be well.

gita

-----Original Message-----
From: Justice for Adil [mailto:justiceforadil {AT} riseup.net]
Sent: Tuesday, January 09, 2007 12:28 PM
Subject: [securitycerts-coord] OPEN LETTER from HUNGER-STRIKERS at 
Canada's "Guantanamo North"

Open Letter and Call for Action from Hungerstrikers at "Guantanamo North"

Security certificate detainees' Hunger Strike Enters Day 45 for 
Mahjoub, Day 34 for Jaballah and Almrei

TAKE ACTION: SEE END OF EMAIL

JANUARY 8, 2007 -- In an open letter released today from the 
detainees at Canada's Guantanamo Bay -- the Kingston Immigration 
Holding Centre, located on the grounds of Millhaven Penitentiary 
outside of Kingston, ON -- Mahmoud Jaballah, Mohammad Mahjoub, and 
Hassan Almrei have asked the people of Canada to speak up for their 
rights.

The three men have been held indefinitely, without charge or bail, 
for as long as 6.5 years, on secret evidence neither they nor their 
lawyers are allowed to see.

The open letter comes with the declining health of two of the men.

"I normally hear from Mr. Mahjoub every day or so, but he was so weak 
that he did not call for two days, and when he finally was able to 
use the phone, he reported a fever, awful headaches, chest pains, 
pains in his
left arm, and overall weakness," says family friend and coordinator 
of the Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada, Matthew Behrens. 
"Mr. Jaballah is experiencing the kind of difficulties consistent 
with a lengthy hunger strike as well, in addition to ongoing pain 
from a double hernia which, despite being diagnosed last April, has 
yet to be scheduled for surgery."

There has not been a daily check of medical conditions of the 
hunger-strikers at KIHC.

It appears increasingly that the denial of medical care is part of an 
overall pattern of arbitrary decisionmaking that contributes to a 
punitive atmosphere against men who are being held indefinitely 
without
charge.


TEXT OF THE OPEN LETTER
Monday, January 8, 2007

Open Letter to the People of Canada from the Detainees at Canada's 
Guantanamo Bay

We are writing to you because the government of Canada will not speak 
with us. We are three Muslim men who have been detained under a 
security certificate, without charge or bail, for between 5 and 6 and 
a half years. We are not allowed to know the evidence against us.

Many groups such as Amnesty International have called security 
certificates fundamentally flawed and unfair. The United Nations has 
criticized Canada for this practice. Right now, the Supreme Court is 
deciding what Canada should do about them.

We are held at a place called the Kingston Immigration Holding Centre 
(KIHC), located on the grounds of Millhaven Penitentiary. Some people 
have called this place Guantanamo Bay North. Like the detainees in 
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, we are held indefinitely. This is a kind of 
psychological torture that is almost unimaginable. We do not know 
when, or if, we will be released from jail.

We still have many months, and possibly years, of jail before us 
while our cases go through different court proceedings.

We have been very patient and done our best to deal with a process 
where it is impossible to defend yourself. And we will remain 
patient, because we know that ultimately, we will be let out, because 
we are innocent men.

But sometimes there is only so much human beings should be required 
to accept before they raise their voice in peaceful protest.

Right now we are on a liquid-only hunger strike protesting the 
conditions of our detention. For Mohammad Mahjoub, it is day 45, for 
Mahmoud Jaballah and Hassan Almrei, it is day 34. We do not want to 
be on hunger strike. It is hard on us and our families. But it is the 
only voice we have.

When we were detained in Toronto, there were many hunger strikes 
protesting our conditions of detention. Because of this, the new 
facility at Millhaven was built, and now we are three hours away from 
our loved ones. Many of the things promised to us, such as 
educational programs and a library, have not
happened. We do not have the same rights as convicted criminals to 
trailer visits with our families. And now we are faced with the 
denial of medical care. In one case, shots for Hepatitis C  have not 
been given since
September 2, 2006. Surgery for a knee injury and a double hernia have 
not been scheduled, even though we have been here since April, 2006.

Our demands are very simple.

There must be a supervisor to be present with us when we move 
anywhere within the facility. In particular, this is important if we 
move from the living unit to the next building or to the Millhaven 
building for health
care. Without a supervisor present, the possibility remains of a 
guard making a false accusation against us. As we have seen too often 
here, when it comes down to our word against a guard's, the staff 
will side with the guards.

Medical care must be delivered to us in the living unit if we are not 
accompanied by a supervisor to the administration building. We have 
not refused the offer of medical care. We want medical care. Medical 
care was given to us in this area before September 10, 2006, and now 
our refusal to go to the administration building without a supervisor 
-- a choice we have made for our own safety -- is being used as an 
excuse to deny us medical care.

We would like to have access to the media without guards present 
during an interview. We had private access to the media at Metro 
West, without needing approval from the jail.

We want an end to daily head counts, since there are only three of 
us, and they are humiliating and unnecessary.

We would like to use phone cards to call family overseas. The KIHC 
makes us use the most expensive plan available, which our families 
can't afford because they are on social assistance. Since calls are 
monitored, it makes no sense why a cheaper calling card cannot be 
used.

We want the same rights as other federal inmates: access to a 
library, educational programs, and trailer visits with our families 
where we can stay together for three days every month.

Our "yard" is a small concrete area. Just three metres from this is a 
huge grassy area, but we are not allowed to enjoy it. It is 
surrounded by two huge fences, but nobody currently uses it. We see 
no reason why we cannot enjoy the outdoors.

Because problems keep happening here, we need to get at the root of 
the issue: there is no independent body or neutral mediator and there 
is no translator for meetings with staff (English is not our first 
language). All our complaints about staff are dealt with by staff. 
They are not objective, so the complaints are always dismissed, with 
no appeal. This is not fair. There is no ombudsperson that we can 
speak with. We have been told we can send complaints to the Red 
Cross, but we are not allowed to phone them. Besides, the Red Cross 
has no authority here.

Ultimately, we wish to be treated as human beings, and all human 
beings have rights. We wish to be reunited with our loved ones, but 
until that time comes, we want to live with as much dignity as is 
possible while we are at Guantanamo North. There is no 
security-related reason why this is not possible.

Our hearts cry from the suffering we see in the world, and we 
ourselves try to cope day to day with lives that have been stolen 
from us based on secrets. Our families are in prison, too. The 
children long for us to be
home with them to play, to help with the schoolwork, to be there as 
they grow up. And we know that day will hopefully come soon.

Many times before, people across this country have spoken up for our 
rights, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Right now, we 
face a very difficult situation, and if the government will not speak 
with us, we hope they will listen to you.

Please contact your Member of Parliament, write a letter to the 
newspaper, and call Stockwell Day, and ask him that he fix the 
problems at KIHC. The pain we feel from a lengthy hunger strike is 
also felt by our families and friends, who worry so much about us. 
Secret trials are a wound to Canadian democracy. Justice for our 
situation can help heal that wound.

Mahmoud Jaballah
Mohammad Mahjoub
Hassan Almrei

TAKING ACTION

1. Write and Call Stockwell Day, Minister responsible for the 
Canadian Border Services Agency (which runs the KIHC). Demand that he 
meet immediately or appoint a neutral party to immediately resolve 
the crisis at
KIHC.

Stockwell Day, MP,
House of Commons, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Phone: (613) 995-1702
Fax: (613) 995.1154
day.s {AT} parl.gc.ca
communications {AT} psepc.gc.ca

2. Contact the new immigration minister, Diane Finley, at (866) 
496-3400. This is her Simcoe constituency office. Ask that she meet 
with the families of the detainees (who have requested a meeting) and 
that she also take action to meet the reasonable demands of the 
detainees.

3. Write a support card to the detainees (let us know at tasc {AT} web.ca 
if you have so we can monitor if mail is getting through): Mohammad 
Mahjoub, Mahmoud Jaballah, and Hassan Almrei can be reached:

Kingston Immigration Holding Centre
c/o CSC RHQ Ontario Region
440 King Street West
PO Box 1174
Kingston, Ontario K7L 4Y8

4. Join the National Days to Close Guantanamo North and South, 
January 11-15, 2007. Consider organizing a vigil in your community at 
the office of an MP, CSIS, RCMP, or federal building.  Events are 
already being planned coast-to-coast, including at Millhaven. To join 
the national day of action with a vigil or public event in your 
community please contact tasc {AT} web.ca


5. Organise a Demonstration between January 11 - 15. Demonstrations 
will be taking place from British Columbia to Nova Scotia. Demands of 
the demonstrations:

1. Immediately close Kingston Immigration Holding Centre (Guantanamo Bay North)
2. Immediately release Canada's secret trial "security certificate" 
detainees or provide them with a fair, transparent, open trial.
  3. End all proceedings to deport the Secret Trial Five (Mahmoud 
Jaballah, Mohammad Mahjoub, Hassan Almrei, Mohamed Harkat, Adil 
Charkaoui)
4. Abolish security certificates and end deportation to torture.
5. Immediately condemn the illegal Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.


CAMPAIGN TO STOP SECRET TRIALS IN CANADA - Toronto
tasc {AT} web.ca
tel. 416 651 5800


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