Advocates call security detainees' conditions torture
Threesuspects on a hunger strike to protest years-long detention without chargesin Kingston, Ont., need a public body to advocate on their behalf against conditions that amount to torture, say supporters of the men.
At a news conference held Wednesday in Ottawa by the Campaign to Stop Secret Trials, spokesman Matthew Behrens argued that among experts, self-abuse is considered a sign that torture has succeeded.
"If we can define two months without food as self-abusing, then it is clear that the government's effort to torture these men, whether in Syria, Egypt or here in Canada, has been successful."
The groupsays thatMohammad Mahjoub, Mahmoud Jaballah and Hassan Almrei, who have been held for up to6½ years in the Kingston Immigration Holding Centre and who have now refused food for up to 71 days, are being kept without mattresses or enough blankets in winter.
Behrens, who was accompanied byNDPsecurity and immigrationcriticBill Siksay and some of the detainees' friends and relatives,called on the government to stop blocking the releaseof and threatening to deport"individuals who have neverbeen charged with, much less convicted of a crime."
Siksay also spoke out against the men's treatment.
"This harassment is totally unjustified and absolutely unnecessary," he said, calling for the government to repeal the legislation thatgovernsthe use of security certificates.
'What these men are experiencing is torture'
Registered nurse Scott Weinstein,who followed Behrens at the podium, agreed with him that "what these men are experiencing is torture."
He called for the government to provide daily medical care to the detainees and a public body that could advocate on their behalf.
Citizen andImmigrationCanadaconsiders thethree men to be a national security risk, and has issuedsecurity certificates that allow them to be held indefinitely without charges based on evidence that they are not allowed to see. They launched a constitutional challenge that was heard by the Supreme Court in June, but are still awaiting a decision.