Mohammad Mahjoub Close to Death - Vigil in Vancouver
MOHAMMAD MAHJOUB CLOSE TO DEATH - AUTHORITIES REFUSE HOSPITALIZATION
RALLY 5-6 PM AT ART GALLERY (ROBSON SIDE) FRI SEP 23
24 HOUR VIGIL FRI SEP 23 6 PM UNTIL SAT SEP 23 6 PM
Rally and 24-hour vigil will include speakers, music, and creative resistance.
We encourage you to wear black. Bring banners and placards.
** please see below for sample letter and recent media ***
For more information visit: http://noii-van.resist.ca
On Day 77 of his hunger strike, Mohammad Mahjoub is very weak and in constant pain. After 5 years of detention on secret evidence and without being charged, he does not wish to end his hunger strike, saying that it is the only way left for him to fight for his dignity and that of his family.
Mahjoub had asked to be hospitalized and yesterday September 20, he was taken to the hospital in Toronto after pressure on government authorities from friends, family and supporters across Canada. Mahjoub and his family hoped that while he was hospitalized, health care authorities would be able to properly investigate the conditions which have led to his hunger strike, including his Hepatitis C, and his knee injury. Instead Mohammad had a few tests and was taken back to the prison. He was told he did not need to be hospitalized for another two weeks. This is contrary to independent physician Dr. Pritchard’s report which states he needs to be hooked up to a heart monitor machine because there is a high risk of cardiac arrhythmia and there are signs he may already have kidney damage, which will worsen if the hunger strike continues.
Mahjoub, a secret trial detainee held over five years without charge or bail on secret evidence, is demanding from his solitary confinement cell immediate hospitalization to monitor his vital signs during this critical, dangerous phase of his hunger strike; a liver biopsy to check the progression of Hepatitis C contracted in the detention centre, and related medical treatment; and touch visits with his two young children, aged 6 and 8.
Mohammed Mahjoub is one of the five “Secret Trial Five” whose lives have been torn apart by accusations that they are not allowed to fight in a fair and independent trial. All five men were arrested under "Security Certificates," a measure of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) that has been described by Amnesty International as "fundamentally flawed and unfair". Security certificates and secret evidence reverse the fundamental rule of innocent until proven guilty. Neither the detainee nor his lawyer are informed of the precise allegations or provided with the full information against him. They are imprisoned indefinitely without charges on secret evidence and face deportation to their countries of origin, even if there is a substantial risk of torture or death.
During a delegation in Toronto, Mona Elfouli (Mohammed’s partner) was told by government officials that in the end, it was in Mr. Mahjoub's hands. Elfouli directly told them that no, it was in the hands of the government, and that she would hold them responsible should Mohammed die. Ontario Premier McGuinty, only sent out a junior staffer with no authority who promised nothing, not even a commitment to a process to deal with the issues raised by the hunger strike. Similar actions have taken place in Montreal, Ottawa and other cities.
We strongly urge you to join us here in Vancouver for a 24-hour vigil in support of Mohammed and to continue to write or call McGuinty and Kwinter, who will have blood on their hands should Mohammed die in custody. The pressure must be kept on until our brother’s demands are met.
*** KEEP UP THE PRESSURE ***
Please keep up the pressure: Demand that Mohammad be hospitalized and properly monitored in a medical setting.
Premier Dalton McGuinty
PHONE: (416) 325-1941
FAX: (416) 325-3745
Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services
Phone: (416) 325-0408
Fax: (416) 325-6067
I am writing to urge you to take immediate action to save the life of Mohammad Mahjoub, who has been detained without trial in an Ontario prison for over five years and is now on Day 77 of a hunger strike (as of September 20) to demand minimally decent conditions of detention. His main demands include proper medical treatment for hepatitis C (a prescribed liver biopsy has been denied), medical care for a knee injury, eyeglasses, and touch visits with his young children once a month.
Mr. Mahjoub is very weak and at imminent risk of death or severe, permanent impairment.
Please intervene immediately to ask correctional authorities to hospitalize Mohammad Mahjoub without delay. A man’s life is in your hands and failure to act immediately could have grave consequences.
Wife of jailed Egyptian terror suspect fears for his life, protests at Queen's Park
Man on hunger strike in critical condition, diagnosis by independent physician shows
By MARINA JIMÉNEZ
Globe and Mail, Tuesday, September 20, 2005 Page A9
Mona Elfouli is terrified her husband Mohammad Mahjoub will die in jail. And if he dies, she vows to hold the government of Canada responsible.
Mr. Mahjoub, a terrorism suspect held on a security certificate, is on the 76th day of a hunger strike to protest against the conditions of his incarceration in the Metro West Detention Centre in Toronto.
"The prison is taking an unnecessarily punitive approach," Ms. Elfouli said. "They are refusing his medical treatment for security reasons. They're killing him slowly."
She and 40 supporters held a protest at the Ontario Legislature yesterday and tried unsuccessfully to meet with Premier Dalton McGuinty.
Ms. Elfouli said her husband is refusing all food (except water and orange juice) to fight for the right to have eyeglasses, be treated for a knee injury and for hepatitis C, which he contracted in jail, and to see his children without a Plexiglas barrier separating them. At 140 pounds with high blood pressure, he is too weak to stand and his wife worries he could fall into a coma in the middle of the night and die.
The 45-year-old Egyptian native could save his own life by ending his hungerstrike; however, Ms. Elfouli said that would not resolve the question of why prison officials have so far not dealt with his health issues, or allowed him to have a liver biopsy, as recommended by a doctor in 2004, to determine a course of treatment for hepatitis C.
On Sunday, Jane Pritchard, an independent physician, examined Mr. Mahjoub, found his condition to be critical and recommended he be transferred to hospital within the next two or three days so that his heart could be monitored, according to Mr. Mahjoub's lawyer, Barbara Jackman. Dr. Pritchard also found his health was not being monitored frequently enough at the jail, where he is being held in solitary confinement for his own protection, she said.
"Within the space of 10 minutes he could have a heart collapse," Ms. Jackman said. "He is at imminent risk of death or severe, permanent impairment. He is too weak to stand, has shooting pains in the abdomen, pain in his kidneys, shortness of breath, chest pains, and his eyesight is failing." Mr. Mahjoub, who has been imprisoned for five years, has asked to be hospitalized and will accept an IV. Prison officials referred all calls yesterday to Julia Noonan, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of
Community Safety and Correctional Services. According to Ms. Noonan, health officials do monitor hunger-striking inmates on a daily basis.
"We have no medical direction to transfer any inmate to the hospital now," she said. "He is seen every day by health care and if a doctor directed us to transfer an inmate to hospital, then that is what we would do." Mr. Mahjoub is one of five Muslim non-citizens being held on a security certificate, a controversial legal process that allows Canada to detain and deport terrorism suspects considered a threat to national security based on detailed intelligence that remains secret. All five are fighting deportation, arguing they will be tortured or killed if sent to their homelands, and the Supreme Court will ultimately decide the constitutionality of these cases.
In Sudan, Mr. Mahjoub worked on a farm owned by Osama bin Laden. He is alleged to be a member of al-Jihad, a terrorist organization in Egypt, where he was tried in absentia. Ms. Jackman said her client denies any involvement in terrorism. He fears he will be tortured if sent home, and a federal Court judge has agreed that he "could suffer ill treatment and human rights abuses" if deported. Ms. Jackman argues her client -- as an immigration detainee -- should be held in an immigration facility, or federal facility, which provides more freedom, allows for prison programs and regular family visits. Provincial facilities are designed to accommodate prisoners for short-term stays.
Mr. Mahjoub has also applied for bail. Adil Charkaoui, a Montreal resident being held on a security certificate, was released on bail earlier this year. The three men in the other security certificate cases remain in prison, including Hassan Almrei, who recently ended a hunger strike to win the right to be allowed out of his cell to exercise for an hour a day.