By Tyra Walker
On July 3rd, 2014, CODEPINK sent a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, urging him to take a stand for the release of Egyptian prisoner Khaled Al-Qazzaz, a permanent resident of Canada and father of four young Canadian children, who has now been detained for over 365 days. We encourage you to send letters to Prime Minister Stephen Harper as well.
To learn more about Khaled Al-Qazzaz and his extralegal detention, visit his website: http://www.freekhaledalqazzaz.com/
Click here to read Khaled’s June 27, 2014 open letter to the New York Times entitled, “Why is the World Silent?”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
July 3, 2014
Dear Prime Minister,
This month of July marks the one-year anniversary of the coup against Egypt’s President Morsi and the one-year anniversary of the unlawful detention of Canadian citizen Khaled Al-Qazzaz in Tora high-security prison in Cairo. We are writing to call for his immediate and safe release.
Mr. Al-Qazzaz has been detained since July 3rd, 2013 without charge or trial, and without any clear accusation of wrongdoing. During this period of detention, Mr. Al-Qazzaz has been taken away from his life as a respected educator, an engaged community member, and the father of four children. Furthermore, for a significant part of his detention, Mr. Al-Qazzaz has been deprived of access to his family, legal counsel, and any indication of the expected length of his detainment.
Mr. Al-Qazzaz’s detention is a clear violation of the due process and human rights that should be afforded to each and every Canadian citizen. Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest [or] detention.” Mr. Al-Qazzaz’s detention is a clear and shameful violation of this fundamental human rights protection.
It is no surprise how much support Mr. Al-Qazzaz’s case has garnered. Notable organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and numerous public figures have all mobilized to demand an immediate and peaceful resolution to this act of injustice. CODEPINK stands in solidarity with these organizations and individuals in defense Mr. Al-Qazzaz’s most fundamental rights.
We implore those in power in Canada to help resolve this tremendous injustice. Each and every day that Mr. Al-Qazzaz’s release is prolonged is a crime. However, each and every day is also a new opportunity to end an egregious human rights violation. In order to uphold standards of human rights, civil liberties, and respect for human dignity, CODEPINK urges you to demand the immediate and safe release of prisoner Al-Qazzaz to mark the beginning of turning tides of respect for human rights in Egypt.
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