Second death in immigration custody in one week reignites calls for detentions overhaul

End Immigration Detention Network
March 15, 2016

Media Contact: Syed Hussan (416 453 3632), Estefania Alfonso (416 809 7620) – No One Is Illegal – Toronto

Second death in immigration custody in one week reignites calls for detentions overhaul

Toronto — Immigration rights coalition End Immigration Detention Network is enraged and dismayed after a second immigration detainee died in Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) custody in one week. An emergency vigil will be held at CBSA offices to call for immediate action from the Trudeau government to end indefinite detention, end the use of provincial jails for immigration detention, overhaul of the judicial review process, and create an oversight body over the CBSA as first steps towards ending immigration detention.

WHAT: Emergency Vigil Against Deaths in Immigration Detention
WHEN: 7pm, Tuesday, March 15, 2016
WHERE: CBSA Offices, 74 Victoria Street
VISUALS: Dozens of concerned residents at candlelit vigil holding names and pictures of detainees who have died. Continue reading

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Release: Mourners demand inquest, action over death in immigration custody

Lack of Coroner’s inquest, and continued use of Ontario prisons for federal immigration enforcement sparks calls for change.

Toronto – A petition initiated by 88 immigration detainees in the Central East Correctional Centre (CECC) in Lindsay and signed by over 1500 people will be delivered to Ontario Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Yasir Naqvi today, August 10th, Prisoner Justice Day, calling for a coroner’s inquest into the death of Abdurahman Ibrahim Hassan (Abdi). Abdi, a 39 year-old Somali refugee had been in immigration detention custody at CECC for three years when he was transferred to the Peterborough Regional Health Centre, and died on June 11th. The only known circumstances of Mr Hassan’s death comes from a short SIU statement saying that he died after being “restrained by officers”. Residents are also calling on Ontario to cut ties with federal immigration enforcement, and stop jailing immigrants without charges or trial on the federal government’s behalf. The agreement between the two parties is up for renewal in January, 2016.

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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.”

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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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: https://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/

High-school youth to rally outside Ontario prison on Family Day

“If we get to be with our families, so should they. Everyone should be able to be with the people they love”

Peterborough, Toronto, Guelph — High school aged youth from Peterborough and Toronto are changing the way they celebrate Family Day (February 16th) this year, rallying outside a maximum security prison in Lindsay, Ontario. The group, members of Youth 4 Global Change & End Immigration Detention Network Youth Committee hope to raise awareness of family separation and endless jailing of immigrants including children without charges or trial. Siblings, parents, friends and grandparents of the youth group, as well as family members of many of the men imprisoned by immigration enforcement will be raising signs and making music outside the prison walls. Continue reading