Canadian sues feds for $27M over exile, torture in Sudanese detention

A Sudanese-Canadian has filed a lawsuit against the federal government for $27 million over his arrest, detention and alleged torture in Sudan.

Abousfian Abdelrazik signals as he arrives in downtown Montreal to a small and excited crowd after a six-year exile in Sudan

TORONTO — A Sudanese-Canadian has filed a lawsuit against the federal government for $27 million over his arrest, detention and alleged torture in Sudan.

Abousfian Abdelrazik’s lawsuit also names Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, who once declared him a “national security risk.”

“The plaintiff claims that the defendants took numerous actions to harm him in (Sudan), including arranging for his arbitrary imprisonment by Sudanese authorities, encouraging or condoning his torture at the hands of Sudanese authorities, and actively obstructing his repatriation to Canada for several years,” the suit states.

“The defendants acted in bad faith and a callous manner at every turn, resulting in significant physical and psychological harm.”

Abdelrazik, 46, of Montreal, was arrested in Sudan in 2003 after going there to visit his sick mother.

He subsequently spent almost six years in prison or forced exile, including 14 months in the Canadian embassy in Khartoum.

He claims he was repeatedly beaten and mistreated while in detention.

His unproven statement of claim filed in Federal Court this week alleges that Canada’s spy agency requested his arrest and detention, and its agents travelled to Sudan to interrogate him.

Consular officials who were able to see him said they were unable to help him.

The suit also states that Ottawa repeatedly reneged on promises to give him an emergency passport, something for which he blames Cannon personally.

“(Cannon) took individual actions and decisions that he knew or ought to have known were unlawful and would harm the plaintiff,” the suit states.

Included in the claim is $4 million sought from the government, plus another $1 million from Cannon in punitive and aggravated damages.

“The involvement of Canadian government officials in the false imprisonment and torture of a Canadian citizen abroad is conduct that must be condemned in the strongest possible manner by way of punitive damages,” the suit asserts.

A Federal Court judge has previously ruled that Ottawa violated Abdelrazik’s constitutional rights by refusing to allow him to return to Canada and faulted the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service for its role in his detention.

The case gained widespread attention in Canada, with supporters earlier this year raising money for his plane ticket back to Canada because Ottawa refused to help.

Although Abdelrazik’s ordeal spanned both Liberal and Conservative governments, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff attacked the Tory government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper for failing to stand up for a Canadian citizen.

“It’s a very bad day for Canada when a Canadian citizen has to sue its own government because he has been mistreated overseas and his human rights have not been protected,” Ignatieff said in Burlington, Ont.

“The Conservative government has to understand something very simple and clear: a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian; and the rights that Canadians have by virtue of that passport are indivisible.”

Just Posted

Ride to Conquer Cancer cancels but Red Deerian keeps going

Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer was cancelled due to smoke

Red Deer woman saving animals at wildlife centre with TV show

Victoria Bolhuis, 22, interned at Hope for Wildlife for 10 weeks before moving into paid position

Record-breaking year in Red Deer for smoke

Expect more smoke in Red Deer Wednesday

Mustard Seed prepares people for workforce

Employment Readiness Fair to be held August 28

Updated Red Deer smoke free bylaw to ban smoking cannabis in public

Smoke Free Bylaw returns to Red Deer city council Sept. 4

Kim XO is Black Press Media’s fashionista

Starting Sept. 7, stylist Kim XO will host Fashion Fridays on the Life channel on Black Press Media

Liberals unveil poverty plan with lofty goals, but no new spending programs

OTTAWA — The minister in charge of Canada’s latest national plan to… Continue reading

Case of truck driver charged in Humboldt Broncos crash adjourned until October

MELFORT, Sask. — The case of a Calgary truck driver charged in… Continue reading

Animal crackers break out of their cages

After more than a century behind bars, the beasts on boxes of… Continue reading

Alligator kills woman trying to protect her dog at resort

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — A woman who often walked her dog… Continue reading

Patients redirected as water leak shuts down Edmonton hospital’s emergency room

EDMONTON — Ambulances are being redirected to other hospitals after a water… Continue reading

Parks Canada moves second bison bull that wandered out of Banff National Park

BANFF — Parks Canada says a second bison bull that wandered out… Continue reading

Lottery for parent sponsorship to be replaced, more applications to be accepted

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is scrapping an unpopular lottery system for… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month