PSYCHOLOGICALLY FOR TORTURE
Basque refugee Ivan Apaolaza Sancho yesterday ended a week-long hungerstrike - which included three days complete fast (without water). The authorities of Montreal's Rivière des prairies prison, where he has been held for over 15 months without trial, had responded to the hungerstrike by putting Ivan in isolation, removing his clothes, glasses and books, and
severely limiting his telephone access. Ivan is now out of isolation; his clothes, glasses, books and telephone access have been restored.
In a call to one of his supporters, Ivan explained that he had ended his hungerstrike in order to better prepare psychologically for the possibility of being deported and facing torture. In isolation, cut off from the outside world, stripped of clothing and glasses, he felt that he was being broken down mentally so that the physical torture later would be easier.
Last week Ivan was told that he would be deported to Spain on Friday, 17 October. The Ligue des droits et libertés stated that they are "greatly concerned about several aspects of the treatment Mr. Apaolaza Sancho will face in Spain: on top of secret or incommunicado detention, and on top of the practise of dispersal or continual transfer of prisoners detained for
terrorism by the Spanish authorities, there is the fact that this person strongly risks being perceived by Spanish authorities as an important source of information ..." (Denis Barrette, 7 October) Spain has been criticized for its use of torture by Amnesty International, as well as European Union and United Nations human rights bodies.
Ivan's lawyers have filed for a Federal Court review of Immigration Canada's negative Pre-removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) decision, and will ask for a stay of deportation, but there is no guarantee that the Federal Court will accept the appeal or grant the stay. If the Federal Court refuses to review the PRRA, there is nothing to prevent the deportation save a direct
intervention by federal ministers.
Interviewed on 30 September, Ivan explained what he is facing, "I have experience of friends, family members that have been tortured. One of the first things that I remember when I was a kid is seeing my uncle in bed after being tortured for ten days. And I have a lot of friends who have been tortured and after - because of the declarations under torture - they spend eight, ten years in jail."
He continued, "It is not only the torture. It is also the conditions that Basque prisoners have in Spain. It is the big sentences that they are given for - whatever, even if you don't commit a crime, even if they didn't prove anything, they say that you are a member of a political party that is illegal now and you can face 10 years. I could face 20 years in jail."
In May 2008, the Commissioner Louis Dubé of the Immigration and Refugee Board ordered Ivan deported from Canada on the basis of allegations against Ivan made by the Spanish state. Contrary to mainstream media reports, the government has produced NO evidence to support those allegations which would link Ivan to any crime or to the ETA (a Basque armed militant group considered by Canada to be a 'terrorist organization'). The ONLY information the government has supplied to make its case consists of unproven Spanish police warrants. And the only piece of information in these unproven warrants which could link Ivan to the ETA comes from the confession of a Basque activist which a Canadian tribunal recognized was probably obtained under torture. This is the basis on which Ivan has been imprisoned for 15
months, stripped of his right to apply for asylum in Canada, and faces deportation to possible torture and abuse.
Full interview with Ivan linked at:
Background information on Ivan: http://peoplescommission.org/ivan.php
YOUR SUPPORT IS REQUESTED:
1. Please stay in touch with us to learn about public actions in the coming days and weeks. Join the support list for Ivan to learn of any developments or emergency actions: send an email to
2. Have your organization write a statement protesting Canada's violation of Ivan's rights and calling on Stockwell Day to intervene (details at
http://peoplescommission.org/ivan.php, in the 'What you can do' section).
Freedom for Ivan Committee
tel. 514 848 7583