“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.