Montreal

Abdelrazik cheered by supporters on return to Montreal

Dozens of supporters and a marching band welcomed Abousfian Abdelrazik back to Montreal just after midnight on Sunday.

Dozens of supporters and a marching band welcomed Abousfian Abdelrazik back to Montreal just after midnight on Sunday.

His return marked the end of a six-year ordeal for Abdelrazik, who was stranded in Sudan after authorities there accused him of being an associate of al-Qaeda.

Supporters in Montreal waited at Berri Square downtown for more than an hour before Abdelrazik arrived at 12:45 a.m., ending a 30-hour voyage from Khartoum to Toronto, followed by a six-hour drive from Toronto to Montreal.

Abdelrazik was smiling from ear to ear when he walked up to his supporters to thank them.

"I'm very happy to come back home and to be in this lovely city, with very kind fellow Canadians in Montreal and everywhere. I’m very happy to come back home and it's your support that [made] this happen now. And I thank you very much for everything. Really, thank you and God bless you," Abdelrazik said.

His stepdaughter, Wafa Sahnine, and his son, Kouteyba, were among the supporters at Berri Square. Sahnine thanked the crowd in French, saying that over the next few weeks, the family would try to reconnect and rebuild family ties after being separated for six years.

Abdelrazik had been prevented from flying home because his name appeared on a UN terror watch list, and the Canadian government wouldn't issue him a passport, saying he was a security threat. Abdelrazik was stuck at the Canadian Embassy in Khartoum for the last 14 months.

At the beginning of June, a Federal Court judge ordered the government to bring Abdelrazik home, saying the federal Conservatives had infringed on his charter rights as a Canadian citizen.

Abdelrazik's lawyers called his return a victory for all Canadians.

"The power of the Canadian constitution and the rule of law has obliged this government to allow Mr. Abdelrazik to come back, despite its ideological and political intransigence. The spirit of law and human rights in this country has triumphed. It has triumphed over reactionary politics and the egregious practice … of selective citizenship," said one of Abdelrazik’s lawyers, Yavar Hameed.

Hameed said they will now work to clear Abdelrazik's name, starting in Ottawa on July 7 when he will give his version of events to the Federal Court judge who ruled the Canadian government must bring him back.

Abdelrazik remains on the UN's no-fly list, prohibiting him from future air travel outside of Canada. The no-fly list also subjects him to an asset-freeze provision, which Canadian law adheres to. This could prohibit Abdelrazik from getting a bank account or accepting any kind of financial assistance, including wages from a job.

now