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June 29, 2009

Pt 1: Abdelrazik - Abousfian Abdelrazik is back in Canada this morning. He arrived home over the weekend after spending six years stranded in Sudan. And he was welcomed by his step-daughter, Wafa Sahnine, and other supporters in Montreal.

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Pt 2: Abdelrazik's Trial Documentary - As we mentioned in our last half-hour, Abousfian Abdelrazik is back at home in Canada. He was stranded in Sudan for six years, jailed twice and accused of supporting Al Qaida. He also spent a little more than a year sleeping on a cot in the Canadian Embassy in Khartoum.

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Today's summer guest host was Mellissa Fung.

It's Monday June 29th.

Abousfian Abdelrazik has returned to Canada, ending what many are calling a "Kafkaesque" nightmare as a suspected Al Qaeda terrorist.

Currently, Well, I for one am happy this will end all those references to a long dead writer. I find it soooo Orwellian.

This is The Current.

Part One: Abdelrazik - Lawyer

Abousfian Abdelrazik is back in Canada this morning. He arrived home over the weekend after spending six years stranded in Sudan. And he was welcomed by his step-daughter, Wafa Sahnine, and other supporters in Montreal.

Abousfian Abdelrazik is back because a Federal Court ordered the Harper Government to allow him to come back. Until that ruling came down earlier this month, Ottawa maintained that Mr. Abdelrazik was a security risk and refused to issue him a passport.

The RCMP and CSIS -- the Canadian Security Intelligence Service -- had already cleared him of any criminal wrong-doing. But he is still on a United Nations no-fly list. And the United States Government still insists he has links to terrorist activities.

In fact, even as his plane took off, the Canadian Government said it couldn't guarantee that Mr. Abdelrazik's flight would be allowed to get to Canada.
Yaveer Hameed is Abousfian Abdelrazik's lawyer. He traveled to Khartoum last week to make the long trip back to Canada with his client. Mr. Hameed was in Ottawa.

Abdelrazik - Investigator

Six years after this saga began, it's still unclear how and why Abousfian Abdelrazik ended up on a UN no-fly list and a U.S. terrorism watch list. To help us understand what would have gone into those decisions, we were joined by Neil Livingstone. He is the Chairman and CEO of the security consulting firm Executive Action and the author of nine books on terrorism. He was in Washington.

Abdelrazik's Trial Documentary

As we mentioned in our last half-hour, Abousfian Abdelrazik is back at home in Canada. He was stranded in Sudan for six years, jailed twice and accused of supporting Al Qaida. He also spent a little more than a year sleeping on a cot in the Canadian Embassy in Khartoum.

The RCMP and CSIS -- the Canadian Security Intelligence Service -- cleared him of any criminal wrong-doing. But he couldn't come home because the Canadian Government said he was still a security risk and refused to grant him a passport. Until a Federal Court judge this month ordered the government to allow him to return to Canada.

His story has prompted comparisons to the story of Josef K, the protagonist in Franz Kafka's novel, The Trial. So The Current's Aaron Brindle and Chris Wodskou put the two stories side-by-side to see where they intersect.

John Zilcosky and Amir Attaran both agreed to help. John Zilcosky is the author of Kafka's Travels and the Chair of the department of Germanic Languages and Literature at the University of Toronto. And Amir Attaran is a professor in the law and medicine departments at the University of Ottawa who has worked on Abousfian Abdelrazik's case. The documentary is called Abdelrazik's Trial. It first aired on The Current in April.

At the time this documentary first went to air we requested interviews with Foreign Affairs' Minister Lawrence Cannon and his parliamentary secretary, Deepak Obhrai. They were not available.

Last Word - Abdelrazik

We ended the program with a few words from the man we've been talking about for the last hour. Three months ago, Abousfian Abdelrazik got on the phone and laid out his story. It was the first time we'd heard it in his own words. We gave the last word to Abousfian Abdelrazik with some of that recording.

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