Human rights groups called on the Canadian government yesterday, (December 11, 2008) to provide a full account as to why Mr. Benatta was transferred to the United States one day after the September 11 attacks.
In a letter to Public Safety Minister, Peter Van Loan, supporters of Benatta said they were “dismayed” to learn Ottawa claims it did nothing wrong.
Such a defense “undermines public confidence in the government’s commitment to safeguarding human rights in the context of national security,” wrote representatives of groups such as Amnesty International Canada, Canadian Council for Refugees and International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group.
To read the letter that was submitted by the human rights groups click here.
To read the Toronto Star article regarding the letter, click here.
Ben is is scheduled to speak tonight at the Noor Cultural Centre. Discussion starts at 7:30 pm. Admission: $5.
Go if you can.
Some highlights from the above article:
Benamar Benatta rarely sleeps more than three or four hours a night.
The 33-year-old former Algerian air force lieutenant still spends nights wondering why Canadian officials transported him across the border on Sept. 12, 2001 then handed him to American authorities. And, of course, there are recurring nightmares of five years spent in U.S. jails, despite being cleared by the FBI in November 2001 of having any links to the 9/11 attacks.
The Toronto man can still hear the taunts from jail guards who called him a terrorist; can still hear the jingle of keys as guards entered his cell every half-hour, waking him from a fitful slumber.
“I’m not the same person I used to be before Sept. 12, who was full of life and full of spirit,” said Benatta, whose feet and hands bear scars from his time in jail. “It’s like they’ve marked me for the rest of my life. It wasn’t only five years of detention – what they did to me will hurt me the rest of my life,” said Benatta…
Blurbs from Ottawa Xpress: “On Jan. 30, Benatta will march with supporters to deliver a petition with close to 1,000 signatures to Prime Minister Harper…”
“Canada’s First 9/11 Rendition to Torture: An Evening with Benamar Benatta happens Tuesday, January 29, at 7:30 p.m. at Public Service Alliance of Canada Hall (233 Gilmour St., at Metcalfe).” Click here for the article in its entirety.
Click here for an extensive article at The Ottawa Citizen.
I wish to take this opportunity to wish good luck to Benamar and all the kind folks who will be marching with him on the 30th. Good luck!
Also, I’d like to remind everyone to keep spreading the word, tell your friends and family about this case and our petition… And to those who’ve taken it upon themselves to write their own personal letters to their representatives or to Editors of newspapers (online and off), thank you as well!
Though Ben has indeed finally won his refugee case, it’s not over yet. Still—no public review has been forthcoming. Not acceptable. Let’s keep making noise.
Matthew Behren for Toronto Action for Social Change, writing at Straight Goods, asks readers to support Benamar’s cause and sign our petition.
That’s the latest. Thank you Matthew Behren and Straight Goods.
Everyone please keep spreading the word… let’s flood that petition with signatures before the 30th…
An Evening with Benamar Benatta:
Tuesday, January 29, 7:30 pm
Public Service Alliance of Canada Hall,
233 Gilmour Street- (at Metcalfe)-Ottawa-(Free Access)
Demand a Public Review for Benamar Benatta:
Vigil and Walk to Prime Minister’s office to Present Petitions demanding a public review
Wednesday, January 30, at 10:30 am
Meet at Eternal Flame, Parliament Hill.
Interview with Benamar Benatta about recent vigil in Canada.
Interview with Nicole Chrolavicius about recent vigil in Canada.
Hopefully we’ll have permission to post video of the vigil that the Global National has locked down. As I understand it Nicole has inquired about obtaining the video as well.
We will keep you updated on any developments.
In the meantime, here is the latest I was able to obtain, an Indy Media interview about the case:
Interview with Benamar Benatta and Nicole Chrolavicius from Indy Media.
Click here to sign the petition. The details are there as well as a letter, which will be forwarded both to the Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Stockwell Day the Minister of Public Safety. Spread the word, these officials need to hear the voices of Canadians.
There will be a petition for Americans shortly.