End Immigration Detention Network
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.”