FASTERS STATEMENT &endash; FEBRUARY 5, 2007 - TORONTO
We the undersigned commit ourselves to fasting one day per week to support Mohammad Mahjoub, Mahmoud Jaballah, and Hassan Almrei, who are currently being detained in the Kingston Immigration Holding Centre, in their demands for:
- an end to their indefinite detention without charge, on the basis of secret evidence
- an end to the threat of deportation to torture
- intervention by the office of the Correctional Investigator
(The secret trial detainees are the only federal prisoners in Canada without access to an ombudsperson who is authorized to independently investigate their conditions of detention condition inside the living unit at Kingston Immigration Holding Centre.)
- access to an independent outside doctor to monitor their condition
inside the living unit at Kingston Immigration Holding Centre or, if needed, in another unit with the accompaniment of a supervisor
- provision of health care as recommended by this independent doctor
- weekend trailer visits with family members
- improved phone access
- to have a supervisor present when they move throughout the facility.
We believe these are all reasonable demands and we do not believe that the men should die while these go unanswered.
Three men alone fasting in a maximum security prison are a small and lonely group. We wish to widen the circle of support for these men and their families, so we, members of the general public, will fast alongside them, publicizing their demands and standing up for their rights.
We are appalled that the government has chosen to respond to the concerns by claiming that the conditions of detention are reasonable, while at the same time preventing inspections by an independent correctional investigator. Denying private access to interviews with members of the media is also unacceptable to us.
We will be fasting on a rotating basis, for 24 hour periods, on liquids only, for as long as it takes to get these concerns answered.
We want the men to be able to regain their health, to have visits with their families, and to have the medical attention they need.
We ask that the larger question of the constitutionality of security certificates be addressed, and note that this is going to be decided by the Supreme Court in the near future. We absolutely reject this process that keeps detainees imprisoned indefinitely (for more than 6 years now) without any charges or without the opportunity to review or challenge the secret evidence on which they are being held.
The real context to this hunger strike is the demeaning, dehumanizing process that has placed these men behind bars to begin with, that has subjected them to a form of torture in Canadian prisons. Until that process has been eliminated and these men returned to their loved ones, the real crisis will not truly be over.
In the meantime, however, we ask that the rights of the detainees for humane conditions of detention be respected in reality, not just in government press statements.
Fasters' spokesperson: Maggie Panter, 416-406-3611
BACK TO HUNGER STRIKE HOME PAGE