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Concerned citizens braved an arctic blast in Saskatoon on International Human Rights Day to speak-out in support of Abousfian Abdelrazik. In 2003, Abdelrazik was arrested in Sudan at the request of CSIS, and he was subsequently beaten and tortured. Eventually released and cleared of all suspicion, his many attempts to return home to Montreal have been blocked by Canadian officials.

The treatment of Mr. Abdelrazik by the federal government is inexcusable,” says Tracy Marchant, one of the speakers at the rally, who blasted the Harper government for violating Abousfian’s fundamental human rights.

The Harper government is upholding the UN 1267 sanctions against Mr. Abdelrazik, even though he has never been charged with any crime. “Both CSIS and the RCMP have publicly stated they have no evidence against him,” noted Simon Lewis, another speaker at the rally.

The 1267 sanctions – which prevent Mr. Abdelrazik from working or having a bank account – are indefinite. Individuals on the 1267 list have no right to a hearing – a blatant violation of the Canadian Charter and international law.

Countries like Britain have refused to impose the sanctions against their nationals on the 1267 list, stating they are unconstitutional.

Participants at today’s rally, wearing signs that read “All I want for Christmas is democracy,” signed an open letter to Saskatoon’s four Conservative MPs urging them to act.

In the name of justice, lift the sanctions against Mr. Abdelrazik so he may once again enjoy the same rights as other Canadian citizens,” Lewis told the rally.