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We are mothers, fathers, wives, partners and friends of migrant men locked up in maximum-security jails across Ontario. Our loved ones are being indefinitely jailed by Immigration Canada, and have been denied every opportunity to re-join their families and friends.
We are mothers and fathers who are waiting to be reunited with our first born and our youngest sons. We are wives and partners whose children look at their father’s shoes and ask us when they will return. We are stay-at-home moms, and elderly parents who have to leave our children, and our sick family members in search of jobs as our family’s breadwinner has been taken away. We are caught in the crocodile jaws of immigration, spending thousands of dollars we don’t have on legal fees.
Some of our loved ones started getting into trouble with the law at a young age because our families broke down, or because we were too busy trying to survive with multiple jobs to keep them on the right path. They have all served their jail terms yet are facing double punishment. Others have never been arrested or charged with any crime.
Our loved ones have been locked up in jail, some for six months, others for nearly ten years. They are stuck in jails and their lives are passing them by. What purpose does this serve? They want to pull their lives together but how can they do it behind bars? How can they pay a lawyer or gather their immigration documents without work, phones or internet access? Continue reading
Today marks Amin Mjasiri’s 47th day of hunger strike while in segregation. Despite repeated requests to be visited by John Greyson and Tarek Loubani, Amin Mjasiri was denied a visit because of his insistence on continuing his hunger strike.
The following is an updated interview with Amin Mjasiri which was recorded the day that Tarek Loubani and John Greyson made their way to Lindsay which also marked Mjasiri’s 43rd day on hunger strike. Mjasiri is continuing his hunger strike not only to push for his own release but to also stress that there be a 90 day maximum that immigration detainees can be held in detention in Canada.
Toronto – Today marks 44 days since 191 migrants began strike actions in a maximum security prison in Lindsay, Ontario, to protest indefinite detention and a broken adjudication process. Today we profile five of the men we are in touch with who have been on hunger strike and locked up in segregation as punishment. There are others whose bios we cannot confirm at this time. Detainees in segregation are on 23-24 hr lock down, some not allowed to shower for a week, and only receive food and access to some calls through a flap in the door.
Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney has still not made a statement. Yesterday, jail officials met with detainee representatives and like their boss, Corrections Minister Madeleine Meilleur, they refuse to take responsibility for either the indefinite detention or the segregation of detainees.
“I came here when I was 7. I’ve been in Canada for 43 years. All my family is here in Canada.” — “We’re on segregation, we haven’t done anything wrong. We’re just trying to state the point to immigration to make a stand. I’ve been in here almost three years.” — “We have to argue [with prison guards] to get some liquids to drink. Some of them walk by and tease us about eating food. So we’re telling them that’s not right. We’re here trying to make a stand and you guys are making wise crack jokes.” Continue reading
Michael Mvogo has been locked up in a maximum security prison for seven years. Canada cannot remove him, but will not release him. Refusing to be forgotten, Mr Mvogo joined #MigrantStrike with over 190 other detainees at Lindsay Central East Correctional Centre on September 16th.
Together, immigration detainees are opposing Harper’s prison policy. They are demanding that Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney either remove them within 90 days or release them.
Earlier this morning, Mr Mvogo filed a complaint with the Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions at the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights demanding an end to his indefinite detention. If he succeeds in forcing Canada to establish a ‘presumptive period’, indefinite immigration detention could end!
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Martin Sisay and Lynval Daley. Interviewed October 19th
On Immigration Hold for 28 Months
detained by Immigration Canada
“I have been on segregation for 10 days now and been on hunger-strike for 28 days. I have been in Lindsay for 28 months.”
“The Toronto Bail Program has been recommended by the members of Immigration. The Toronto Bail Program is saying that Immigration needs to okay the bail.”
“I haven’t eaten one meal, every meal has been pushed out.”
“ I have a minor criminal record in Canada, possession simple possession and obstruction of justice. This is all the criminal record I have in Canada, and it’s been 28 months [in provincial maximum security prison on immigration hold].”
“I am pleading for the Canadian public to help in this situation and you know its not just me in here.”
“This hunger strike we are going to keep this up, we are going to keep it up. If it means 100 days we are going to do it, because we need our freedom. If Canada can not get us out of Canada, they need to release us.”
“We are taking a stand. We want Immigration to know whats going on. We want the public to contact Immigration Canada. We need the Canadian public to put pressure on the Immigration minister so they can stop this lengthy and cruel and unusual detentions.” Continue reading