Abdelrazik vows to clear name from 'unjust' UN no-fly list
Montrealer Abousfian Abdelrazik said Tuesday he's seeking justice for the years he spent stranded in Sudan as a suspected associate of al-Qaeda.
"I want those people who play a role in this matter to face justice, not because I seek revenge.… I want this not to happen to any Canadian citizen anymore," Abdelrazik told the media after appearing in court Tuesday afternoon.
Abdelrazik flew back to Montreal 10 days ago, after being stranded in Sudan for six years because his name appeared on a United Nations no-fly list for alleged terrorist ties. CSIS and the RCMP dismissed the terrorism allegations against him and a Federal Court judge recently ordered the Canadian government to fly Abdelrazik home.
In that ruling, Federal Court Justice Russell Zinn also said he wanted to see Abdelrazik with his own eyes upon his return, and Abdelrazik made that appearance Tuesday afternoon.
In court, Justice Zinn made two short statements, first thanking the federal government for abiding by his ruling and providing Abdelrazik with a safe escort back to Canada. Zinn then addressed Abdelrazik directly, acknowledging the challenges he faced as a suspected terrorist.
"I have no way of knowing whether you are or may be ... that may be determined by another judge or history ... but for now, I find those allegations unproven," Zinn said.
UN list restrictions remain
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 provision could prohibit Abdelrazik from getting a bank account or accepting any kind of financial assistance, including wages from a job.
"I want to come to my normal life and soon I want to remove myself from the [no-fly] list of the United Nations because this list is [unjust] and unfair and it make my life very difficult. I want to be removed from that list as soon as possible," said Abdelrazik.
His lawyer, Yavar Hameed, says the first priority is to have his client's name removed from the UN watch list, but added that would involve negotiations with the United States, which has veto power over the list
"The government of Canada can take steps in that regard and we need to discuss that with them to see if they're willing to make those necessary steps," said Hameed.
Hameed said he's asked for a meeting with Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan and Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon in the coming days.
Abdelrazik didn’t say if he's planning to sue the federal government. He said he plans to answer detailed questions at a news conference in Ottawa sometime next week.