Wednesday, 22 May 2024

B.C. ISIS supporter “playing games” by refusing to co-operate with his deportation, says CBSA

A Jordanian ordered deported from Canada for spreading pro-ISIS propaganda is refusing to co-operate with his removal, a hearing in Vancouver revealed Friday.

Two attempts by the Canada Border Services Agency to have Othman Ayed Hamdan fill out the paperwork required to get him a Jordanian travel document have so far failed, an official said.

Hamdan refused to meet with a CBSA removals officer who went to his prison in B.C.’s Fraser Valley on Nov. 2 to get him to complete the application form.

A second attempt to resolve the issue on Nov. 7 ended with Hamdan’s lawyer advising the CBSA that his client was unlikely to co-operate, the official said.

“The current step in the removal process is for Mr. Hamdan to co-operate with obtaining a Jordanian travel document, which is his country of citizenship,” CBSA representative Randal Hyland told the hearing.

“However, so far Mr. Hamdan is not co-operating with his removal.”

The casket of warrant officer Patrice Vincent leaves the church after funeral services Nov. 1, 2014 in Longueuil, Que. On social media, Othman Ayed Hamdan allegedly called Vincent’s killer a “hero.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Born in the United Arab Emirates and a citizen of Jordan, Hamdan arrived at the Canadian border from Washington state in 2002 and was accepted as a refugee in 2004.

But the Fort St. John, B.C., resident’s refugee status was cancelled last month, and on Oct. 18, the Immigration and Refugee Board ordered his deportation, ruling he was a danger to the security of Canada.

In its decision, the Refugee Board said Hamdan “identified with and allied himself with a terrorist organization and he served that organization’s social media agenda by relaying its messages.”

The Nipigon River Bridge, which the Immigration and Refugee Board said Othman Ayed Hamdan had identified as an infrastructure target for his Facebook followers.

He also “identified infrastructure in Canada which could be targets for attack” and “encouraged lone wolves in the West who could not travel abroad to carry out attacks at home,” the IRB ruled.

The CBSA now wants to fly Hamdan to Jordan, but before that can take place, the agency must obtain a travel document from Jordanian authorities — a process that requires his co-operation.

While Mr. Hamdan has a Jordanian passport, it has expired.

Peter Edelmann, Hamdan’s lawyer, said his client was afraid to go back to Jordan. “Mr. Hamdan has significant concerns around what the Jordanian authorities are going to do to him when he returns to Jordan.”

He said Hamdan wanted a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment, which would look at the dangers he could face if he was returned to his home country. The lawyer also said Hamdan had concerns about his mental health.

But Hyland said Hamdan was not eligible for a risk assessment at the moment.

The government can deport Hamdan without a risk assessment, and was required to do so “as soon as possible,” said Hyland, who urged Hamdan to “stop playing games and co-operate, as he is obliged to.”

Hamdan declined to attend the hearing.

The case concerns pro-ISIS Facebook posts Hamdan made under various aliases in 2014 and 2015. The RCMP arrested him on terrorism charges three years ago but he was acquitted, prompting immigration authorities to process him for deportation.

On Friday, the IRB ordered him to remain in detention.

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