Prominent political activist and freedom fighter, Muhammed Sillah, was slated for deportation to the Gambia where he fears for his life because of his outspoken activism, natural leadership, and political opinions in opposition to the current regime. Muhammed was granted protection on January 3rd, 2013. On January 9th, the Immigration and Refugee Board "amended" their decision and denied him. Without legal counsel, Muhammed didn't know that there is no ability of the IRB to be able to do so. They knew Muhammed wasn't able to obtain legal counsel. Now, with a great lawyer, Muhammed has submitted information to the Federal Court of Canada and he is waiting on a decision. HIS ARREST AND DETAINMENT HAS BEEN ILLEGAL. However the board members at the IRB continue to detain him until they receive an order from the court. They are detaining him out of retribution to the awareness of his case, the exposure of the ill treatment of refugees and immigrants, and the awareness he has raised into the life of a detainee.
The current President Yahya Jammeh, who claims to cure aids, has had a monopoly over the Country since he took over via coup in 1994. All it takes is to post a caricature of the President online and that will guarantee you a 15 year prison sentence and a $85,000 fine. Amnesty International, Coalition for Change amongst many other human rights groups have and do work tirelessly to awaken communities about the atrocities in Gambia. Gambians locally have been blocked from journalists (who are murdered and/or arrested), media outlets (who have been banned), news casts (no access to websites in Gambia) from being able to hear about many attrocities from the regime. Or they have witnessed so many murders, including 16 students in 2000 for protesting against the regime, that Gambians live under fear.
Community pressure stopped Muhammed's removal on June 11th, yet today, seven months later, he is still in detention and fighting for his life and temporary protection while Jammeh is in rule.
In retaliation for protests and actions in his support, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) refuses to let Muhammed Sillah rejoin his family.
Not only has CBSA put up obstacles in front of Muhammad’s release, they and their private prison profiteers G4S use racist slurs against him and have refused to let his wife visit him out of retribution.
The Canada Borders Services Agency and G4S have racially targeted and abused Muhammed since his arrest. Incidents include:
** When Muhammed was first arrested, CBSA officer Mr. Ivory said to him: "Why don't you have your family do black magic to stop your removal?"
** Muhammed had bugs in his food while in immigration detention, when he complained he was told: "What, your Mom doesn't cook you bugs in Africa?”
His continued detention is unjust, the attacks against him and his family are nothing but targeted harassment and part of an immigration detention system is racist and exclusionary.
On further retribution for Muhammed's articles, he was moved to maximum security on November 12th, 2013.
Sign this petition! Demand justice and status for Muhammed Sillah!
Interview Muhammed Sillah, the day before his scheduled deportation, which was stopped: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGE53omaK8A
Background on immigration detention: http://vimeo.com/55622758
- Member of Parliament Calgary Southwest
- Assistant Minister of Public Safety
- Chief of Detention at Toronto Immigration Holding Centre
- Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism
- Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
- Prime Minster of Canada
- Leader, Conservative Party of Canada / Chef, Parti Conservateur du Canada
I am writing to demand in the strongest terms that Mr Muhammed Sillah be immediately released from detention.
Mr Muhammed Sillah is a protected person in Canada and is not a victim of a removal order. He has expressed clearly that he wishes to stay in the country while The Gambia is under control of President Yahya Jammeh.
CBSA and G4S are targeting Mr Sillah and his family simply for loudly, and effectively stopping his unjust deportation. Keeping him in jail for doing so is utterly unacceptable.
I was shocked to hear the racist slurs hurled at Mr Sillah by your officers and your private prison sub-contractors. Immediate disciplinary steps need to be taken against the officers responsible. Not only that, CBSA and G4S must undergo a thorough human rights investigation for these and other racist actions so that systematic changes can be made.
I am urging you to instruct Minister's counsel to stop putting roadblocks in front of Mr Sillah's release and support Mr Sillah's application for protection and permanent residency in Canada.
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