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(en) Canada, [ocap*] Lawsuit against abusive prison guards doomed if victim's deportation is not stopped.

From OCAP <ocap@tao.ca>
Date Sun, 19 Sep 2004 06:58:58 +0200 (CEST)

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**Personal Statement written in Penatanguishene Correctional Centre below**
Press Conference Monday September 20th, 2004 10:30am Federal Court of Canada
330 University Avenue (north of Queen) Please come out to support Tilo.
Tilo Johnson, the son of Jehovah's Witness missionaries, fled Nigeria
after being thrown in jail for several months in connection with
pro-democracy activities. He sought refugee status in the West, and has
endured a horrific ordeal in both the US and Canada ever since.
Living first in the US, Tilo was denied asylum and ordered to leave the
country. When he complied and came to Canada, he inadvertently breached
probation conditions stemming from a conviction for possessing a modest
amount of counterfeit currency. Consequently, Tilo spent the next three
years in a Toronto detention centre, where he successfully represented
himself all the way to the Ontario Court of Appeal and won the right not
to be extradited to the US. While in jail, he was severely beaten by
guards and sustained injuries that affect him to this day.

On Monday September 20th, his counsel Lorne Waldman will make a last ditch
effort to have the Federal Court intervene and stop his deportation to
Nigeria, scheduled for the following day.

If deported, his four year old daughter, over whom he has shared custody,
will be deprived of his love and support. Her best interests have yet to
be considered by Immigration Canada, which is much of the reason why it is
vital that his application for landing is adjudicated before deportation
is even considered.

His lawsuit against the guards who beat him will also have to be abandoned
if Tilo is forced to leave the country. The guards will never have to
answer for what they did and Tilo will have no hope of compensation for
injuries so severe they continue to affect his health.

“Canada could gain a lot if I am given a chance to stay. Otherwise,
myself and my daughter have all to lose,” says the applicant, who has just
been accepted for an Electronics Engineering program and simply wishes to
be released from yet another incarceration to live his life with his
family and friends in Canada.

Please come out this Monday to the Federal Court.

Lorne Waldman will be available for comment at the press conference. For
more information, contact Sarah Vance at 416.925.6939

Personal Statement – Written in Penatanguishene Correctional Centre
September 17, 2004
Tilo Johnson

Although I upheld and practiced the humanitarian and compassionate values
in my life, Citizenship and Immigration Canada has not done the same to me
in return. Compassion and humanitarianism are visceral to human nature.
If one should look for a reason for my release from this hopeless and
agonizing situation, without doubt it lies within the above mentioned
bonds. A man’s life and his child’s life should be more than enough
reason to show compassion. But Immigration Canada has refused to stop my
removal until my Immigration application can be heard. Why? The answer
is because I am of the wrong pedigree. But what about my child’s rights?
(a citizen!) What does she want is the question. Or better yet, what is
good for my daughter? A father’s life?

These are the reasons that warrant a stay of my removal:

1. I am a person whose safety is at stake. My life will be in danger if I
return to Nigeria.

2. I am the father of a bright four year old girl who is in constant need
of my emotional and financial support. She is going to be five next month
on the fourth of October. I am a custodial parent and I give her all of
the support that she needs. (Please make reference to the Refugee
Protection Act, Section 68, Subset 1.)

3. I have a pending civil suit against Metro West Detention Center as a
result of an assault administered to me by the guards in December of 2000.
That has left me with much physical discomfort as I severed several nerves
in the attack. On the 5th of August, 2004 I learned of the severed nerves
in my left shoulder. As a result of that, I wear arm braces. There is no
way for me to follow through on my case if I am deported.

4. I do have an application for permanent residence status pending. No
decision has come out of it yet. I understand that the application is at
the local office, however, CIC is pushing for my immediate removal on
September 22nd, which is next Tuesday.

5. I am a computer technician who has just gotten admission to study
electronic engineering. I have been accepted for studies at Seneca
College, Sheridan College and Humber College. This could be a very good
model for my daughter.

There will be no meaning at all to due process of the law if I am removed
before all of this unfinished business is settled. I strongly believe
that the CIC is moving towards deporting me because they have just learned
of my lawsuit against the Metro Toronto West Detention Center. In any
case, all I asked for was a letter of apology from Metro West. All I
needed was the acknowledgment of the wrong done to minorities (people of
little means) in jail since they lack representation or some to speak out
for them.

I am required to report to Immigration on the first Friday of every month
and I have done so faithfully for the past 18 months. This August I
forgot to report. The nature of the damage I sustained as a result of
being beaten at the West Detention Centre contributes a lot to my
forgetfulness. I came in as soon as I remembered that I missed the
monthly reporting, despite this, on August 16th I was arrested and I have
remained in jail ever since. Once I was jailed Immigration Canada pushed
for my immediate deportation. Immigration officers have never used their
discretion to help my situation in any way.

Canada could gain a lot if I am given a chance to stay. Otherwise, myself
and my daughter have all to lose. The fact is that a man’s human life is
in danger. And a child will be rendered fatherless. This only leaves me
to think that humanitarianism and compassion in CIC policies and
regulations exists only on paper. I am afraid that CIC could prove to be
an accessory to the harm of a man who has committed no crime. When none
speak up, evil prevails.
ocap mailing list
* [Ed. Note: OCAP is antiauthoritarian anticapitalist
direct action social struggle initiative.]

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