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(en) Canada, [ocap*] Picket and BBQ at Immigration Minister's Campaign office and more.

From OCAP <ocap@tao.ca>
Date Sat, 19 Jun 2004 06:03:18 +0200 (CEST)


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A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
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1. Picket and BBQ Lunch at Judy Sgro's Campaign Office
2. Mohamed Cherfi - Important Update and what you can do
3. Anti-War Protester on Trial in Toronto
1. Picket and BBQ Lunch
At Minister of Immigration Judy Sgro's Campaign Office In York West Riding
Saturday, June 26th, 2004 11am South East Corner of Weston Road & Finch
This time send the Liberals a message: No respect – No vote!
While the possibility of a Conservative government is horrifying on many
fronts, including the Party's position on enforcement, deportation and
suspect preferential selection of Immigrants, we must not allow the
Liberals to slide through the Federal election campaign without receiving
a clear message that their legacy on Immigration issues is nothing short
of despicable.

Judy Sgro's Hidden Agenda:
Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Poor

1) Sgro Refuses to Deal Humanely with the 200 000 Immigrants stuck in
Canada without Status

The Globe & Mail estimates that 200 000 people – over half of whom are in
Toronto - living in Canada don't have legal Immigration status. That
means that a huge number of people who have made lives for themselves and
their families in Canada live in constant fear of being deported—often
back to situations of severe poverty and repression. Think about knowing
that your family can't get medical care when they desperately need it, or
can't get protection from exploitative bosses or the police with out
risking being deported. Judy Sgro has absolutely refused to even discuss
this issue.

2) Judy Sgro's Immigration Ministry saw Church Sanctuary Violated for the
First Time in Canadian History

In April, police broke into a Quebec Church where Mohamed Cherfi had taken
sanctuary. Immigration officials threw him into a U.S. jail in just 5
hours-before the national outcry about this situation could even be heard.

This act was condemned by such groups as the United Church of Canada and
Amnesty International. He is still locked up awaiting likely deportation
to war-torn Algeria. Cherfi is one of the leaders of the Non-Status
Algerian Committee in Montreal that has successfully defended hundreds of
Algerian Immigrants from deportation.

3) Liberal Appointed Refugee Board Members Are Accepting Fewer and Fewer
Refugees

Despite the state of global conflict and poverty in which there are more
than 20 million Refugees worldwide, less than 40% of Refugee claimants in
Canada get approved. This statistic is well below what it was 5 years
ago. Refugees from certain regions have an extremely hard time getting
recognized despite their personal histories – the process is tainted by
Canada's pursuit of its economic and political interests. Board members
who are appointed do not have knowledge about refugee-producing countries
and the lived experiences of migrants. For example, Palestinians are
being denied at an alarming rate despite the well-known illegal and deadly
Israeli military occupation which plagues daily life throughout Occupied
Palestine and the violence, poverty, and persecution, which defines daily
life in the Palestinian refugee camps throughout Lebanon.

4) Sgro Backed Out of Liberal Promise of a Refugee Appeal

Sgro has refused to implement the Appeal system the Liberals promised to
put in place. It used to be that two to three board members would hear a
refugee case. Now, only one member hears a case, and though the Liberals
passed legislation for an appeal process, it has never been implemented.
Canada has been condemned by the United Nations High Commission on
Refugees for failing to give refugees an appeal.

5) Sgro Refuses to Meet with Groups of Refugees Fighting for Status in Canada

Refugee groups including the Coalition Against the Deportation of
Palestinian Refugees, the Action Committee of Non-Status Algerians,
Project Threadbare, and the Committee to Support Mohammed Cherfi have
urged Sgro time and again to meet with them to deal with urgent Immigrant
issues. Time and again she has refused. She has also adamantly refused
to use her legal powers of intervention even in particularly
heart-wrenching situations.

If you're concerned about these issues, please join us at our Protest
Picket and BBQ lunch outside Judy Sgro's campaign headquarters:

Starting 11 am, Saturday, June 26th
South East Corner of Weston Road & Finch
Judy Sgro's Campaign Office
(3467 Weston Road)


2. Campaign to Bring back Mohamed Cherfi:
It is your duty to stand up for rights!

Message from the Mohamed Cherfi Support Committee
Read on to find out WHAT YOU CAN DO

Hi everyone!

We hope you're all taking advantage of the first days of sunshine we've
had in sometime. June is synonymous with a big "blitz" in the Mohamed
Cherfi solidaritycampaign before the critical next step: his June 25
hearing, at which the U.S.immigration judge will rule on whether Mohamed
is to be granted political asylum or sentenced to deportation to Algeria,
where, as you know, his life is in danger.

Here, then, is some news in conjunction with another proposed gesture of
solidarity:a new letter (yes, indeed!) for mass distribution to the
ministers concerned so that Mohamed can come back to Québec as soon as
possible. You'll find the form letter below or at the following address:
http://mohamedcherfi.org/article.php?id_article=54

Mohamed is still in prison in Batavia. He's doing relatively well. He's
lost more weight, but is keeping his morale up. He's hopeful this
nightmare will soon be over. The solidarity campaign continues to garner
support (see the new additions to the list on the site
www.mohamedcherfi.org), in the form of logistical assistance, gestures of
solidarity, donations, political support, etc. For example,
the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) is one of the
latestorganizations to lend political support. Some 30 major Canadian
organizations,including the Canadian Labour Congress, the Canadian Council
for Refugees and theCanadian Auto Workers Union, along with the
Steelworkers Union of America, aremembers of the ICLMG.

By now you've undoubtedly heard about the exploratory talks that have been
initiated with the Québec government further to this vast movement of
solidarity. The talks have also led to our taking certain administrative
steps. We'll have moreinformation for you on that as soon as further
progress is made, but we need your help now in keeping the pressure up so
that the door stays open throughout these steps. We have to send a clear
signal to our governments before the June 25 hearing in the U.S. and
before the summer holidays, in order to ensure Mohamed is repatriated
toQuébec should he be denied the protection of the United States (as is
the case for95% of asylum seekers in the district of Buffalo). The Québec
and Canadian governments still have a duty to repair their mistakes and
grant Mohamed the protection he asked from them, as a human rights
activist whose life is in danger. As we have already seen, every action
you take counts in this campaign for the respect of fundamental rights.

We're in this together!

Mohamed Cherfi Solidarity Committee
Tel.: 418-262-0144 Email: solimo2004@yahoo.fr

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

This coming week is critical. Please take the time to call and send
letters to the following politicians, and if your organization has not
signed on to endorse the campaign to bring Mohamed back to Canada, please
send an email to the Support Committee in Quebec City
(solimo2004@yahoo.fr)

Prime Minister Paul Martin
Fax: (613) 941-6900 Tel.: (613) 992-4211
Minister of Immigration Judy Sgro
Fax: (613) 957-2688 Tel.: (613) 992-7774
Min. of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Anne McLellan
Fax: (613) 952-2240 Tel.: (613) 991-2924
Minister of Quebec Immigration Michèle Courchesne
Fax: (418) 528-0829Tel.: (418) 644-2128


Mr. Prime Minister,
Madam Ministers,

It has now been more than three months since Mohamed Cherfi was arrested
and deported. Over 240 groups and public figures have since joined voices
with thousands of Canadians in saying, in no uncertain terms, that grave
errors were made in the handling Mr. Cherfi's file. Worse, they are
unanimous in stating that serious violations of fundamental rights were
committed: failure to take into account the risks Mr. Cherfi would face,
upon returning to Algeria, because of his political activism here;
Minister Coderre's implementation of removal measures despite the ongoing
review of Mohamed's file by Minister Courchesne's office; use of illegal
means to break sanctuary and arrest and deport Mohamed (trumped-up arrest
warrant, denial of his right to appear before a judge, collusion between
the immigration authorites and police); Canada's transmission of false
information to the U.S. government (according to which Mohamed reportedly
poses a threat), thereby increasing his chances of being deported.

We know you have the power to correct these errors. We remind you that,
under Québec and Canadian law, you have a duty to stand up for these
fundamental rights and guarantee the safety, as well as the physical,
moral and mental well-being, of Mohamed and his family.

Thus far, you have contravened the law. You have refused to protect
someone whose life is in danger if he cannot stay in Québec, in Canada.
That is not the kind of government we want.

We ask you, Mister Prime Minister and Madam Ministers, to move swiftly to
bring Mr. Cherfi back to Canada and regularize his situation.

Name of individual or organization
Signature
Address

cc: Mohamed Cherfi Solidarity Committee solimo2004@yahoo.fr


3. Anti-War Protester on Trial

Monday June 21st to Wednesday June 23rd
Old City Hall
Queen and Bay
Courtroom G (3rd Floor)
10 am

LETTER FROM THE DEFENDANT:

** please do not post to websites but forward to lists **

Dear friends,

I'm writing this letter to let you know of my upcoming trial on charges
relating to the March 22nd 2003 demonstration against the war. As you
might remember, this was the large demonstration that took place at the US
consulate in Toronto the Saturday after the US began its invasion of Iraq.

After the demonstration concluded, I was jumped by half a dozen
undercover officers, and charged with eight different offences: Assault
with a weapon, Assaulting police, Conspiracy to commit an indictable
offence, Weapons dangerous, Unlawful assembly, Assault with intent to
resist arrest, Obstruct police and Disguise with intent to commit an
indictable offence. These charges are serious, and the prosecution is
asking for jail time.

I have pleaded not guilty to all these charges and will be fighting them
over the course of three days, June 21st, 22nd and 23rd. Howard Morton
will be representing me as my lawyer, and I encourage people to come and
attend court. The trial is taking place in Courtroom 'G' (3rd floor) of
the Old City Hall Courthouse, 60 Queen St. West (at Bay St.) in Toronto.

The charges laid against me and other anti-war activists last March are
simply one example of many attempts by the Toronto Police to criminalize
and disrupt protest and dissent. The only thing I am guilty of is having
been at the US consulate to protest the invasion of Iraq, and the evidence
disclosed by the police and prosecution would seem to bear out an analysis
that these charges, and those faced by other anti-war activists, are
politically motivated. Included with the notes of the dozen police
officers who will testify against me are copies of the New Socialist
magazine, a leaflet from the Red and Black Notes group entitled "No War
But the Class War ", and a personal letter written to me by former Black
Panther Party member and political prisoner Robert Seth Hayes. The entire
contents of my agenda/notebook which I had on me that day are also
photocopied and have been entered into evidence against me as part of the
disclosure package. None of these political materials have any bearing on
my actions of that day, and yet the Toronto police have entered these
materials as evidence against me, presumably for the purposes of using
them politically in the trial.

After spending four days jail, I was released on $5,000 bail, restricted
from entering a large swath of downtown Toronto, prohibited from attending
"unlawful" protests, and forced to accept "non-association" conditions
with about 15 other anti-war activists as some of the conditions of my
release. I have waited 15 months to go trial on these charges and I have
been denied Legal Aid coverage, forcing me to cover the legal costs
myself. I would greatly appreciate any support that you can offer,
especially attending court or making a contribution of any amount toward
my legal costs (contact me personally for more details about how you can
help out on this matter).

See you on the streets and in the courthouse,

In solidarity,

Tom. (tom-A-tao.ca)
===========================
* [Ed. Note: OCAP is an antiauthoritarian social struggle
direct action initiative.]


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