ADVISORY: Jailed immigrants defy sanctions to launch joint petition calling for an inquiry into their friend’s death.

End Immigration Detention Network

MEDIA ADVISORY

Media Contacts: Mina Ramos: 519-328-8835, Organizer, End Immigration Detention Network

                           Syed Hussan: 416-453-3632

Jailed immigrants defy sanctions to launch joint petition calling for an inquiry into their friend’s death.

Immigration detainees in Ontario are calling for a Coroner’s Inquest into the recent death  in Lindsay’s maximum security prison.  

July 22, 2015, Toronto –  88 immigration detainees imprisoned at the  Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, Ontario released a joint letter calling for a Coroner’s investigation into the death of Aburrahman Ibrahim Hassan (Abdi)’s death in immigration detention, which has been shrouded in secrecy by Canada Border Services Agency (click here to read the original letter). The statement signed by men in four different ranges that are effectively cut off from each other, was smuggled out of the prison recently. An online petition was launched yesterday for supporters to sign on to their demands which has gained nearly 1,000 signatures in the first 24 hours.  

On June 11, 2015, Abdurahman Ibrahim Hassan (Abdi), a 39 year old Somali man died in immigration detention custody at the Peterborough Regional Hospital. Abdi had been in jail for three years without charges or trial at the time of his death. He is the 12th person to die in immigration detention custody in Canada since 2000. The only known circumstances of Hassan’s death come from a short SIU statement saying that he died after being “restrained by officers”. Section 10 (4.6) of the Coroner’s Act specifies that an inquest must be called when death happens by unnatural causes, yet one has not been called yet.

Francis Davidson, 48 years old, who has been in detention for 4 years, says, “Hassan is one of us. We are all here together. We treated him like a brother, a friend. Whatever happened to him also happened to us. He’s not gone, his spirit is still here. We knew him very well. We have to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else. No other family should go through this. For us, we know he was killed. Let’s find out what the facts are so no one else has to go through this.”

With the launch of the petition, detainees are demanding a coroner’s inquest take place, that it be public and that it include talking to current detainees. They are are also asking for immediate implementation of any recommendations from the inquest.

End Immigration Detention Network member Mina Ramos highlights the significance of this move. “Detainees are regularly punished for taking action inside and for communicating with organizers on the outside. For an entire group of immigration detainees to put their names to a petition shows how urgent and deadly things are and how steadfast they are in the struggle to end immigration detention.”

Support detainee petition: Demand an inquest into Abdi’s death

abdurahman-ibrahim-hassan.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterboxToday, 88 immigration detainees imprisoned at the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, Ontario defied sanctions to issue a joint letter calling for a coroner’s inquest into the recent death of their fellow detainee and friend, Abdurahman Ibrahim Hassan (Abdi).

Abdi, a 39 year old Somali refugee died in immigration detention custody at Peterborough Regional Hospital. He is the 12th person to have died in immigration detention custody since 2000. The Canada Border Services Agency and the Special Investigations Unit have still not released his name, and no Coroner’s Inquest has been called in to his death.

S.10 of the Coroner Coroners Act states that inquests must be held for deaths caused by unnatural means inside prisons. According to official press release Abdi died after being “restrained by officers”. A coroner’s inquest into Abdi’s death is required and necessary but is being unjustly delayed.

Detainees are regularly punished for taking action inside and for communicating with organizers on the outside. For an entire group of immigration detainees to put their names to this petition shows how urgent things have become and how steadfast they are in the struggle to end indefinite detention.

“Hassan is one of us. We are all here together. We treated him like a brother, a friend. Whatever happened to him also happened to us. He’s not gone, his spirit is still here. We knew him very well. We have to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else. No other family should go through this. For us, we know he was killed. Let’s find out what the facts are so no one else has to go through this.”  (Francis Davidson, 48 years old, detention for 4 years)

Take Action! Demand Justice for Abdi’s death.

Call / Tweet / Email

  • Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney
  • Ontario Minister responsible for Prisons, Yasir Naqvi
  • Ontario Chief Coroner Dirk Huyer
    • Demand a coroner’s inquest into Abdi’s death.
    • 647-329-1814 / dirk.huyer@ontario.ca

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Media Coverage on Abdi’s death

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Secretive contract reveals Ontario and Border Services jointly responsible for detention injustice

June 24, 2015

Toronto — The End Immigration Detention Network is releasing a secretive contract between the Ontario and Federal government which shows joint responsibility for immigration detention violations. Ontario has denied the existence of this agreement on multiple occasions, and it has not been released in previous requests under the Access to Information and Privacy Act.

“This contract clearly shows that Ontario and Canada have been working together to deprive immigrants of their freedom without charges or trial, and creating prison conditions that are resulting in misery and death,” says Tings Chak, organizer with No One Is Illegal – Toronto and the End Immigration Detention Network. “It’s time to end the secrecy, and do a fundamental overhaul of the immigration detention system; immigration detention must end.”

The agreement came into effect on April 1, 2013 but was only signed by sitting Ontario Minister Yasir Naqvi on January 21, 2015. It must be renewed annually and can thus be cancelled in January 2016 by either party. It came to light earlier this week after the release of a report on immigration detention by the University of Toronto International Human Rights Program and the death in immigration detention custody of Abdurahman Ibrahim Hassan. It can be downloaded at www.endimmigrationdetention.com

“Immigration detention is getting way out of hand. they are locking us up and forgetting about us. I have seen 4 people held in detention with me pass away while in CBSA custody, there is no end to detention and I am worried the next one will be me” says 50 year old Francis Davidson. Davidson has been in Canada 27 years and has been held in detention for the past 4 years. He continued, “I want immigration detention to end now.” Further statements from immigration detainees can be found here.

Key facts about immigration detention & violations

  • Over 7300 migrants were detained without charges or trial in 2013. Approximately, one-third of all detention happens in maximum security provincial facilities rented out by provincial governments to Canada Border Services Agency. 60% of all detentions take place in Ontario.
  • There is absolutely no system to determine under what circumstances some detainees are held in one of three federal immigration holding centres (Toronto, Laval and Vancouver) and the rest in provincial jails.
  • The decision to detain or release is made by civil servants, who are not legally trained, known as Board Members. Board Members release rates vary arbitrarily between 5% and 38%. Release rates also vary by region, 9% in Ontario, and 26.5% in the rest of Canada. There is no comprehensive judicial oversight of these decisions.
  • Canada is one of the few western countries in the world without a time limit on detentions, thus some immigrants have been jailed for over 12 years without charges or trial.
  • Since 2000, at least 12 immigrants have died in CBSA custody according to news reports. CBSA has never publicly revealed details of deaths in its custody.
  • If arrested for a crime, immigrants are punished three times. First, for the crime itself, Second, by having their immigration status revoked or if it’s in process, denied, and facing deportation. Third, by being jailed, in some cases indefinitely.
  • CBSA has been found to use international smugglers to get fake documents to deport migrants to countries they have no connections to, as in the case of Michael Mvogo. See full details here.
  • CBSA flies detainees to Kenya, and then pays bush-pilots US$25,000 in cash to transport those detainees to Somalia. See CBC investigation in the case of Saeed Jama.
  • CBSA regularly imprisons children. At the same time, it does not report on imprisonment of children with Canadian citizen insisting that they are ‘accompanying’ their parents.

Key aspects of the Contract

Though the contract refers to the “interests of public safety” as the justification for detention in provincial jails, immigration detention is ‘administrative’ imprisonment.

Payment (s. 8.1): Canada Border Services Agency pays Ontario a per-diem rate to imprison migrants. Ontario is paid an additional amount of 20% of the per diem rate to cover overhead and administration. Thus, Ontario directly profits from cruel and inhumane detentions that do not conform to basic due process guarantees and are contrary to international legal norms.

Health and Safety (s.2.11-2.14): Health and safety of immigration detainees is the responsibility of the province, except where the detainee is transferred to hospital, in which case Canada must assume custody within 24 hours, or a psychiatric institution pursuant to the Mental Health Act. Thus, Ontario and CBSA are jointly responsible for deaths in immigration custody.

Detention and Transfer of Immigration Detainees (s. 2.7 and 2.8.): Ontario may refuse to detain any immigration detainee whom Canada has requested be detained when its an operational necessity; (s. 2.9) Ontario limits detentions of certain individuals to not to exceed 30 consecutive nights, but CBSA and Ontario are working together to jail some detainees indefinitely.

Detention and Transfer of Immigration Detainees (s 2.19-2.19.3): Ontario shall detain persons as long as they are in CBSA custody or until this agreement is terminated. Ontario is choosing to maintain this agreement and indefinite detention along with CBSA..

Monitoring (s. 5); Red Cross “may meet with persons detained…according to access granted by Ontario”, however no independent monitoring has ever taken place. Ontario continues to deny the Red Cross monitoring access to immigration detention ranges.

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Source

www.endimmigrationdetention.com

www.truthaboutdetention.com

http://ihrp.law.utoronto.ca/We_Have_No_Rights

Media Contacts:

Tings Chak, 416-276-2174, Organizer, No One is Illegal / End Immigration Detention Network

Hunger-striking friends of man who died in immigration custody speak out

Toronto – One week after the death of a 39 year old, Abdurahman Ibrahim Hassan at the hands of Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), immigrants imprisoned without trial or charges along with their families, and friends are refusing food today inside and outside of the Central East Correctional prison. Detainees in Toronto East Detention Centre will be joining them. The one-day fast is to commemorate the death of their close friend, and to demand an end to immigration detention. Detainees and End Immigration Detention Network (EIDN), Canada’s leading immigration detention watch group are also calling for a Coroner’s Inquest into Hassan’s death as well as the implementation of recommendations from Lucia Vega Jimenez’s death, a 90 day limit on immigration detention, an end to maximum security imprisonment and overhaul of the judicial process. Detainees and EIDN are also calling on the SIU to speak to detainees who have not yet been interviewed, and for the Ontario government to take responsibility for its role in these deaths.

“When we woke up [on June 12th] they told us Hassan died from a stroke. A newspaper said he was being restrained and died. We’re wondering who’s next. Am I next? Are my fellow friends my brothers here next who’s next ? We’re on immigration hold, you don’t know what’s gonna happen so you have the fear of losing your life, being assaulted or being forced to get on a plane. There’s a lot of concerns that we have” said T.R., one of the over 50 hunger fast participants, a 27 year old father who has lived in Canada for 12 years, and has been in detention for 5 months.

On June 11, 2015, Abdurahman Ibrahim Hassan, jailed in Ontario’s maximum security Central East Correctional Centre (CECC) in Lindsay, died in a Peterborough hospital after being “restrained” by officers according to Ontario’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU). Few details have been released surrounding the events that led to the detainee’s death. This is the 12th such recorded death in immigration custody since 2000. No recommendations from inquiries or inquests into any of those deaths have ever been implemented.

Twain, another detainee on hunger strike adds, “If anybody had criminal records they already paid their dues, but here they treat us so bad. It’s messed up how things happened. He was sick already and had altercations with guards before. He was walking good before, like straight. After the first altercation his back was bent he wasn’t walking straight anymore. After that he had another stroke. Last time he got beat up by guards in solitary and, rushed to hospital.This is what the guards told me. The situation in the hole is messed up. Only get a shower every other day. You sit there the guard walks by have to wait 30 minutes to an hour to wish for a guard to walk by in case something happens to you.”

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Solidarity Fast to Mark the Death of Another Man in Immigration Detention Custody

150618_HungerFast_Profile

One week ago, a 39 year old Somali man died after being denied medical care for his diabetes and being ‘restrained’ by border guards and prison officials. He had been imprisoned for over three years without trial or charges.

On June 19, his friends, nearly 50 men people imprisoned similarly without charges or trial are taking part in a one-day solidarity and commemoration fast.

Join them. Fast on Friday, June 19th. Remember the dead. Honor the struggles of the living. More actions to be announced soon.

Join the event on Facebook

Visit www.endimmigrationdetention.com for the latest

END IMMIGRATION DETENTION NETWORK RESPONDS TO DEATH IN IMMIGRATION CUSTODY

Toronto, June 12, 2015 – Following the death of a man being held in a Lindsay, Ontario prison, the End Immigration Detention Network (EIDN), Canada’s leading detention watch group, which works with detainees in the same prison, is increasing its call for an end to immigration detention and for the Ontario government to cut ties with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

CBSA is clearly unwilling to act on the death and misery caused by immigration detention. Immigration detention needs to end. The Provincial government is also directly responsible for jailing people that continue to die under its watch,” says Syed Hussan of End Immigration Detention Network.

On June 11, 2015 it was revealed that an immigration detainee, who was being held in Ontario’s maximum security Central East Correctional Centre (CECC) in Lindsay, died in a Peterborough hospital after being “restrained” by officers according to Ontario’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU).  

The detainee, whose name will be released later this afternoon, died as a result of a lack of appropriate, timely, and effective medical care for his diabetic condition. CBSA is refusing to be transparent about the conditions that led to his death, while concern continues to grow about the inadequate levels of health care provided to detainees. Immigration detainees are held under the jurisdiction of CBSA but in Ontario, a third of all detainees are held in provincial prisons.

EIDN is calling for an inquiry into the causes of death and immediate action to avoid further such tragedies. This is the twelfth reported death in detention custody. EIDN has led a campaign since September 2013 when nearly 200 immigrants in CECC went on hunger strike, calling for an end to immigration detention and demanding that the Ontario government cut ties with CBSA.

EIDN member Caileigh McKnight from Peterborough adds, “This news is yet another heartbreaking reason to end the injustice of immigration detention. The provincial government is locking up people in Ontario’s jails without trial or charge, not providing adequate health care and people are dying.

A GlobalNews report last November documented 11 deaths in immigration detention custody since 2000, including that of Lucia Vega Jimenez, whose passing lead to calls for an independent public inquiry. Canada Border Services Agency has no oversight body.

In September 2014, a leaked Red Cross report found denial of family contact, increasing imprisonment of minors and children, violation of basic legal rights, worsening mental health in detention, and alternatives to detention as key areas of concern. Between 2008 and 2014, the Red Cross were denied visits to Ontario’s jails.

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Media Contact:

Syed Hussan – 416.453.3632

Caileigh McKnight – 705.931.2405

Macdonald Scott – 647.761.3860

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Also, please see:

– Groundbreaking study of immigration detention in Canada: http://endimmigrationdetention.com/2014/06/09/groundbreaking-report-on-immigration-jail-reveals-troubling-patterns-signs-of-political-interference/

– Global News: ‘Canada’s Unwanted: Non-citizens paid to leave, jailed without charge, die in secret.’ http://globalnews.ca/news/1645726/canadas-unwanted-non-citizens-paid-to-leave-jailed-without-charge-die-in-secret/

PACK THE COURTS – END INDEFINITE IMMIGRATION DETENTION

Wednesday May 6th
10:30am
Ontario Court of Appeals (130 Queen st W, Toronto) 647-740-6446

Pack the courthouse on the morning of Wednesday May 6th at 10:30am at the Ontario Court of Appeals (130 Queen st W) for an important legal fight to end part of the injustice of immigration detention.

A group of detainees indefinitely imprisoned in Ontario filed an application in the Ontario Courts called a habeas corpus last December, challenging Canada to prove that their long term detention is justified. Michael Mvogo, one of the applicants has been jailed for nearly 10 years. Glory Anawa, another one of the applicants, has been imprisoned for nearly two years. Her son, Alpha, was born in an immigration jail and has spent his entire life in prison. The Ontario Superior court recently declined to hear the application. On May 6th, lawyers for the detainees are appealing the decision insisting that the Ontario courts must assert jurisdiction.

While we urge our supporters to pack the courts, we know that justice is rarely granted in them. Our struggles will not be legitimized by the same system that continues to actively criminalize and displace indigenous, racialized, dis/abled, queer, trans and poor people. However, winning this appeal could eventually mean freedom for detainees, and an end to indefinite immigration detention.

As you know, hundreds of migrants jailed indefinitely without trial or charge, have been waging a courageous struggle against immigration detentions and deportation in a max-security prison in Lindsay, Ontario since September 2013. These migrants, most of whom are Black men, have gone on hunger strike, boycotted their detention reviews, refused to enter their cells and organized despite the violence and alienation of prisons.

To support their struggle, the End Immigration Detention Network has organized rallies and petitions, gone to the United Nations, uncovered deep discrepancies in the detention review process and in December of last year launched a legal court challenge in Ontario’s provincial courts. In the months to come, we will also be turning our attention to the Ontario government that gets paid millions of dollars each year to support Harper’s anti-immigrant agenda, and imprison migrants without trial or charge.

So come out, show your support on Wednesday May 6th as we continue to fight for an end to immigration detention!

Email us at migrantstrike@gmail.com to let us know your coming and we’ll be in touch closer to the date to confirm what time we’ll meet at.

Detainee Strike Organizer Amin Mjasiri Deported

Mjasiri

“Are the actions undertaken by immigration canada unjust? I would go so far as to say their actions are inhuman, despicable and grossly hypocritical” Amin Mjasiri, on the phone from Kenya

On March 27, 2015, Amin Mjasiri, a migrant justice activist, father, and friend was forced to board a plane en route to Nairobi, Kenya after being jailed in immigration detention for 45 months. Amin Mjasiri is part of a movement of migrant detainees who began striking on September 17th, 2013 to protest against arbitrary detentions, bogus judicial review processes and imprisonment in maximum security jails.

Since September 2013, Amin has been a friend, a comrade and a key organizer inside Lindsay’s maximum security prison. Many of us on the outside have come to rely on him for strategies, ideas, and inspiration. His warmth and friendliness a daily reminder of survival and resiliency in the face of cruel border controls and prison sentences. We are hurt, and disappointed that Amin is not just on the other side of a glass window but thousands of miles away. At the same time, this targeting and deportation of Amin strengthens our resolve to continue until all these border walls fall.

We first came into contact with Amin in September 2013. In October, on the 26th day of his hunger strike, Mjasiri released this statement,

“The reason for my hunger-strike is indefinite detention, the uncertainty of the outcome of whether it is going to be deportation or release…Immigration is punishing me right now. Because to them they say this is not a punishment, then what am I doing in a maximum security for 28 months. 28 months of my life, you could not give that back to me. Even if you were going to deport me right now. You could not give that back to me.”

Amin’s imprisonment continued for a year and half after this statement. A total of 45 months of his life, that cannot be given back, were spent in detention while Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) forced the Government of Kenya to issue him travel documents.

Amin has been an outspoken organizer from the beginning of the End Immigration Detention Campaign and was the longest of the hunger strikers in 2013; striking in isolation for over a month. Lawyers for CBSA, in part, have used this strike and his activism as a reason not to release Amin over the last 18 months. In fact, the CBSA tried to deport him to a second country, which he has no relations to, rather than release him to his friends and family in Canada.

On Monday, March 23, 2015 Amin was given travel documents for a flight scheduled four days later. He was forced to leave behind his loved ones and return to Kenya, a country he has not lived in or even visited for over two decades, and which has not regarded him as a citizen.

Although no longer in Canada, he plans to continue to organize against immigration detention and deportation. So will we.

Read the full transcript from interviews with Amin during his hunger strike in 2013.