No justice for Abdurrahman, who died mysteriously in immigration detention

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As over 60 immigration detainees in two maximum security prisons enter Day 5 of their hunger strike, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has decided after a 12 month investigation that police are not responsible for Mr Abdurrahman Ibrahim Hassan’s death. Abdurrahman was in immigration detention at the Central East Correctional Centre for three years without charges or trial when he died on June 11, 2015. The only known cause of death is from an SIU statement in June 2015 that he died after being “restrained by officers”. We need you take action, read on to see what you can do.

It comes as no surprise to any of us that the SIU found police not-guilty in the case of another Black Somali refugee’s death. Black Lives Matter Toronto, and even the Ontario Ombudsman haves urged SIU reform which consists of former cops investigating current cops and letting them free time and again for murder.

We also know that Abdurrahman died because of an intersection of local laws and global policies. He died because of our imperialist world order where Somalia remains war-ravaged. He died because refugees arriving with mental health illnesses get little support, and then when they end up breaking the law, get criminal convictions. Criminal convictions that result in their refugee status being revoked, and in Abdurrahman’s case, endless detentions and eventually death.

Ending indefinite maximum security detention is one part of creating justice in this brutal, violent, and deadly system, and we urge you to take action today by signing our petition, calling Ralph Goodale and issuing letters of support. Scroll below to see how.

Abdurrahman came to Canada as a refugee in the 1993 as a teenager from war-torn Somalia. While his siblings and mother were granted permanent residency status, Mr Hassan’s permanent residency was delayed and then denied because of petty crimes, according to his family members who are requesting privacy from the media at this time. The instability of living without status worsened his post-traumatic stress disorder. In 2012, Mr Hassan was separated from his sister, nieces and nephews and jailed in a maximum security prison, CECC, on behalf of CBSA but deportations to Somalia are almost impossible so he remained indefinitely imprisoned until his untimely death.

A Coroner’s inquest is expected to called in Mr Hassan’s death. The inquest will likely take place in two years time, and its recommendations are not mandatory. We can’t wait two years for answers and recommendations that no one will follow!

When Abdurrahman died a year ago, 88 detainees issued a joint letter concerned about his mysterious death. One of his former cellmates, himself an immigration detainee since August 2013, said “Abdurrahman was a really nice guy, he was friendly to officers and nurses, he shouldn’t have been here, he had served his time but he was still in jail. People should know that he had diabetes and a limp and they put him in the top bunk, I had to help him up and down to his bed and he was often in pain. He had major sleep apnea, the doctors prescribed him a breathing machine, but the jail didn’t give it to him so he would lose his breath while asleep and I had to wake him up. He was a young man, but used to say to me that he would just die in jail, and he did. This immigration detention system, they don’t think we are human, we will all die here in Canada and no one will know.

Three other men have died in immigration detention since Mr Hassan’s death. One of them is Francisco Romero Astorga who died in March, 2016. His family is also seeking answers. Francisco’s brother Esteban Astorga said, “With my heart full of sadness and my mind still trying to imagine the last minutes of my brother, left alone and desperate, I can say that there is no easy way to understand how hard it is to face this unbearable situation. Our family is with Abdurrahman’s family in these difficult times. When this is going to stop?! Canadians must raise their voice and change this system that is taking lives!

Unless we take action, many more will continue to die.

CALL / EMAIL / TWEET at MINISTER RALPH GOODALE
Ask him to meet the detainees.
613-947-1153 / @RalphGoodale / ralph.goodale@parl.gc.ca
SIGN THIS PETITION: https://www.change.org/p/no-more-deaths-no-more-detentions
If you are will an organization, please write a letter of supports. 65 health professionals released a letter yesterday calling for Mr Goodale to meet with immigration detainees.

Death in immigration detention in Ontario prisons

  1. Francisco Javier Romero Astorga (March 2016) Cause of death unknown (in Ontario provincial prison)
  2. Melkioro Gahungu (March 2016) Suicide (in Ontario provincial prison)
  3. Abdurahman Ibrahim Hassan (June 2015) Cause of death unknown (in Ontario provincial prison)
  4. Joseph Dunn (September 2014) Suicide (in Ontario provincial prison)
  5. Unidentified man (March 2013) Cause of death unknown (in Ontario provincial prison)
  6. Shawn Dwight Cole (December 2012) Denied adequate medical care (in Ontario provincial prison)
  7. Kevon O’Brien-Phillip (January 2010) Beaten by fellow inmates (in Ontario provincial prison)
  8. Sheik Kudrath (April 2000) Denied adequate medical care (in Ontario provincial prison)

Death in immigration detention outside of Ontario prisons

  1. Unidentified man (May 2016), Cause of death unknown (Edmonton remand centre)
  2. Prince Maxamillion Akamai (April 2014) Denied adequate medical care (Toronto Immigration Holding Centre)
  3. Lucia Vega Jimenez (December 2013) Suicide (in Vancouver immigration holding centre)
  4. Unidentified man (August 2010) Cause of death unknown (in Laval immigration holding centre)
  5. Jan Szamko (December 2009) Denied adequate medical care (in Toronto immigration holding centre)
  6. Joseph Fernandes (January 2007) Denied adequate medical care (in Toronto immigration holding centre)
  7. Unidentified man (Unknown) Cause of death unknown (unknown) – only reported in CBSA documents but no other details.

#ColonialismNoMore supports #MigrantStrike

160714_Regina

In a powerful act of solidarity with day 4 of migrant detainee hunger strike, Colonialism No More – Solidarity Camp Regina (Treaty 4 territory) picketed outside Ralph’s constituency office today in Regina!

“Colonial borders have divided peoples, have separated peoples, and our camp stands with the migrants on hunger strike and all detained people whose lives are in limbo in a colonial system. Together let us insist that immigration detentions is unjust and deadly – it must end! ‪#‎MigrantStrike‬

CALL / EMAIL / TWEET at MINISTER RALPH GOODALE
Ask him to meet the detainees.
613-947-1153 / @RalphGoodale / ralph.goodale@parl.gc.ca
SIGN THIS PETITION: https://www.change.org/p/no-more-deaths-no-more-detentions

July #MigrantStrike Media

Media Contacts:

Tings Chak, 416-276-2174, End Immigration Detention Network

Media Advisories

July 21: As time runs out for federal immigration detainees in provincial custody, advocates urge Ontario to step in
July 15: No answers in mysterious death of immigration detainee increases calls for end to detentions
July 12: Goodale’s ‘Last Resort’ Detentions, Indefinite and Deadly
July 11: Immigration detainees refusing food to call for end to indefinite maximum-security detention

For background information, email migrantstrike@gmail.com

Media Coverage

#MigrantStrike Day 3: My name is Patrick and I’m calling from the Lindsay institution.

My name is Patrick and I’m calling from the Lindsay institution.

We are going on hunger strike at this moment right now.

We are in this together, we gotta make this happen cause we’re really really tired of being in here. We can’t take this no more.
Nothing has been done, after all these years.

Everyday we’re looking forward to changes to come and we don’t know when they’re actually going to happen.

And right now, we’re tired. We’re all tired of being in here. We can see nothing has been for the whole of this year, for all those years we’ve been detained and in jail.

I’m one of the longest. Nearly I’ve been in for over two years and six months. They’ve been trying to deport me back to my motherland in Ivory Coast but I don’t know when this is actually going to take place.

I want the media to know what we’re going through in jail. The pain, the struggle and suffering…

We want the media to take action, to do something about this, for the public to get our attention as well.

We want to see some changes for the better. That’s what we’re protesting for. We’re protesting because we want to have a change.
We want to have our freedom as well. That’s the main reason we are doing this.

We don’t know when this hunger strike is going to end but today is the first day but we are all doing this.

#MigrantStrike Day 2 – More detainees join strike, Goodale brushes them off, then lies.

160712_Call GoodaleImmigration detainees jailed at two maximum security prisons are continuing to hunger strike to demand an end to indefinite detentions in maximum security prisons. The hunger striking detainees, who have increased to over 60, want to meet with Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to discuss their concerns.

FIVE THINGS YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW:
* CALL RALPH:  613-947-1153
* EMAIL RALPH: ralph.goodale@parl.gc.ca
* TWEET at RALPH: @RalphGoodale
* WATCH AND SHARE THIS VIDEO: https://youtu.be/i4YBlrlkIs8
* If you haven’t yet, sign their petition!

Detainees from – Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, and the Toronto East Detention Centre in Scarborough –  called Goodale’s office Monday, but were denied access to the Minister. His receptionist insisted that he and his staff are unable to speak to members of the public, and refused to provide further assistance in facilitating a meeting between Goodale and the striking detainees. Instead she insisted that detainees call their local MPs.

When detainees called their local Member of Parliament, MP Jamie Schmale, he refused to reach out Minister Goodale.

“Everyday we’re looking forward to changes to come, and we don’t know when they’re actually going to happen,” said hunger striking P.O., who has been imprisoned for the past two and a half years without charges or trial. “We’re protesting because we want to have a change. We want to have our freedom as well. That’s the main reason we are doing this.”

While Minister Goodale’s office was brushing detainees offices, his office issued a media statement insisting that their approach to immigration detention was “world-class, including methods of enforcement, with effective transparency and accountability”. The Minister also insisted that immigration detention was a ‘last resort, after all other alternatives are explored’.

Goodale want us to believe that jailing people for over five years without trial or charge is a last resort. At least three people have died in immigration detention since the Liberals took power, the Minister wants to believe that there was no other option but to let them die? How is not talking to the people directly affected transparent and accountable?

Now is the not the time to obfuscate and lie, Minister Goodale should visit these maximum security prisons, speak to immigration detainees, and commit to upholding human rights and international norms by ending immigration detention.

Nearly 70 people are starving themselves for basic justice, they deserve to be with their families and communities, not locked up without an end in sight. Support #MigrantStrike.

Visit our campaign site for more updates.

Act Now: Immigration Detainees on Hunger Strike in Ontario

160710_HungerStrike_Meme 1 (v2)Massive news!!

Over 50 immigration detainees began to refuse food this morning at the maximum security Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, and the Toronto East Detention Centre in Scarborough calling for an end to indefinite detentions in maximum security prisons and protesting prison conditions that include lock-downs and solitary confinement. The immigration detainees are asking for a meeting with Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to discuss their concerns.

Please help amplify their message!

CALL / EMAIL / TWEET at MINISTER RALPH GOODALE
Ask him to meet the detainees.
613-947-1153 / @RalphGoodale / ralph.goodale@parl.gc.ca
Click here for ongoing updates!
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“We would like immigration detention to end and something more fair or realistic be worked out. We would like to meet with MPs. To me, the way immigration detention is right now, it’s cruel and unusual punishment,” said Toby Clark, who has been in immigration detention since August 2014. “If your country refuses to issue travel documents, some people are held months, some people are held years and there is nothing that they can do about their country not issuing travel documents.It’s sad that people are separated from their family in Canada for so long, they don’t get a second chance.”    Continue reading