A Montreal man accused of being an al-Qaeda operative who trained in Afghanistan is happy his name has been removed from a UN Security Council terrorist blacklist.
Abousfian Abdelrazik, 49, held a news conference in Montreal on Thursday to thank his supporters.
Until his name was removed, Abdelrazik was the only Canadian on the UN's 1267 al-Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee blacklist. He spent six years in forced exile in Sudan, some of that time in prison where he said he was tortured.
He was allowed to return to Canada in 2009 and was exonerated of all accusations of terrorism by the Sudanese government, the RCMP and CSIS.
"I am very happy to receive this news," Abdelrazik said. "But my happiness is not complete."
He said getting his name off the list was only a partial victory, and vowed to fight to get the UN to do away with the list all together. Abdelrazik said he is "still sad for the innocent people [whose names are] still on the list."
He was the last remaining Canadian citizen on the UN list.
Canada 'abandoned me'
Abdelrazik said he will celebrate for the next week, then look for a job. During the years he was on the blacklist, Abdelrazik was not allowed to travel outside of Canada, nor have a job or a bank account.
His lawyer, Paul Champ, said he hopes this case sets a precedent. "I hope that this moment is the start of a lot of reconsideration by the international community to end the UN blacklisting regime," he said.
Abdelrazik also had some harsh words for the Canadian government, which he said did little to help his cause.
"You abandoned me for seven years and you caused me all this suffering," he said. "I am a free person, not because of your support, but the support of [Canadians]."
Abdelrazik is suing the government for $27 million for violating his charter rights, unlawful imprisonment, as well as alleged torture and exile in Sudan.
But Champ said the suit is bogged down in the courts.
"Although that lawsuit was started over 2½ years ago, we have still not gotten to first base because the Government of Canada is still witholding thousands of documents from us," Champ said.