Monday, July 9, 2012

Ramadan Solidarity Fast With Benamar Benatta

An appeal from Stop Canadian Involvement in Torture (please share and distribute widely)

Friends,

As Ramadan is set to begin on July 20, we invite you to consider signing a public declaration in support of Benamar Benatta, Canada's first post-9/11 rendition to torture (September 12, 2001). While you can read more on Benamar's case at www.benamarbenatta.com, in essence. Mr. Benatta spent five years behind bars in the United States, often under conditions amounting to torture, simply because the Canadian government falsely labelled him a threat to national security and turned him over to the U.S. as a 9/11 suspect.

As Mr. Benatta continues his often lonely struggle for justice (a struggle mirrored in many cases across Canada and the rest of the globe), we invite you to consider joining a solidarity fast with Mr. Benatta and all others seeking accountability for the crimes committed by the Canadian and related governments.

We invite those of the Muslim faith to sign their names to the document below as a statement of solidarity with fellow Muslim Benamar Benatta. We also invite those who are not necessarily Muslim to join in a solidarity Ramadan fast in support of Mr. Benatta as well as all those who continue to be unjustly, and illegally, targetted for persecution, torture, and exile in the name of "security." (If you can only fast for certain periods, please indicate that in signing the statement, i.e, fasting for this week, these days, etc.)

The statement will be publicly announced, with names affixed, on July 19, 2012. Please send your name as a signatory to tasc@web.ca



A FAST OF SOLIDARITY
A central tenet of the Muslim faith is the idea that one is called upon to assist those less fortunate than oneself. That expression of solidarity with the poor, the persecuted, the disadvantaged, takes on added meaning during the month-long fast of Ramadan. It is during this time when Muslims, in order to feel both closer to God and to better feel empathy for those they are called to assist the rest of the year, experience the self-restraint of a sun-up to sun-down fast every day, for a month.

Muslim detainees fill the jails of the world, persecuted on the basis of their faith. Many people of Arabic, Middle Eastern and South Asian heritage and Muslim faith find themselves in U.S., U.K., and Canadian jails, often without charge or bail, on secret allegations neither they nor their lawyers are allowed to see.

In addition, survivors of torture in which those governments are clearly complicit continue seeking accountability, apologies, and compensation for the decisions of governments that have led to their torture.

This year, we join with the call from Stop Canadian Involvement in Torture to join a solidarity fast with Benamar Benatta, a refugee from Algeria who was rendered to torture by Canada to the U.S. on September 12, 2001. Mr. Benatta was subjected to torture in the Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn, New York (as documented by the United Nations and the U.S. Department of Justice) and lost five years of his life behind bars, despite the fact the FBI knew in November, 2001, that there was nothing against him.

Mr. Benatta had been racially and religiously "profiled" by the Canadian government, falsely naming him a 9/11 suspect before turning him over to the Americans, with entirely predictable consequences.

On July 20, 2006, Mr. Benatta was finally released from prison and allowed back into Canada, still wearing his prison uniform, to continue with his refugee case and to try and piece his shattered life back together.

July 20, 2012, the 6th anniversary of Benatta's return to Canada, is the start of Ramadan. As Mr. Benatta struggles to find work in his field of aeronautical engineering and continues to fight the demons of post traumatic stress disorder, he seeks an apology from a Canadian government whose own internal documents admit they are legally culpable for the decision that led to his illegal deportation and torture.

Mr. Benatta is not alone seeking such justice: numerous others who were racially and religiously profiled by Canadian "security" agencies continue their struggle for accountability as well.

During this month of Ramadan, 2012, (July 20-August 18), we the undersigned will join in sun-up to sun-down fasting in solidarity with Mr. Benatta and all those continuing to seek justice from governments that have made the conscious choice to make expendable the lives of those they illegally, and immorally, deem "suspect," and thereby condemn to the most unimaginable cruelty.

NAME, CITY



WHAT YOU CAN DO IN ADDITION TO FASTING
1. Write a letter to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews (Toews.V@parl.gc.ca) and Prime Minister Stephen Harper (pm@pm.gc.ca) calling for an apology and compensation for Mr. Benatta.
2. Contribute to the costs of Benamar's struggle. Cheques can be made out to Toronto Action for Social Change  (put "Benatta" in the memo portion of the cheque) and mailed to TASC, PO Box 2121, 57 Foster Street Perth, ON, K7H 1R0.
3. Offer Benamar Benatta a job if you are in the Greater Toronto Area.

More info: Stop Canadian Involvement in Torture, (613) 267-3998, tasc@web.ca






1 comment:

kristy said...

Hat's off to your knowledge.\
when is ramadan 2012