KHARTOUM (Reuters) - A Canadian citizen accused by the United Nations of being linked to al Qaeda flew out of Sudan Friday after a court order ended his six-year exile in Khartoum, his lawyers said.
Abousfian Abdelrazik, born in Sudan, has spent the past year taking refuge in Canada’s embassy in Khartoum, fearing arrest over his suspected links to militants.
Canada’s government had until recently refused to offer assistance or issue a passport to Abdelrazik, 46, who is on a U.N. no-fly list naming him as an al Qaeda associate.
But a Canadian Federal Court judge ruled on June 4 that Ottawa had to arrange Abdelrazik’s return, a decision seen as a blow to the Canadian government’s security policies.
“It will be a huge relief when we get to Canada. I can’t rest until that happens,” said Abdelrazik’s lawyer Yavar Hameed, speaking to Reuters in Khartoum before their plane left.
Hameed said no one had produced evidence to back up the U.N. allegations against Abdelrazik.
Hameed said he had been concerned governments, including Washington, might to try to detain the suspect en route.
“But Canada’s department of foreign affairs have indicated to us they have taken all necessary precautions,” he said.
Abdelrazik posed for photographs at Khartoum airport, but declined to give a statement ahead of his arrival in Canada.
Abdelrazik was born in Sudan and gained Canadian citizenship in 1995 after entering the country as a refugee.
He returned to Sudan in 2003 to visit his sick mother and was arrested and held by Sudanese authorities on two occasions.
Abdelrazik was freed in 2006 and has been living in the Canadian embassy in central Khartoum since late April 2008. He has denied being a militant.
Canadian Federal Court Judge Russel Zinn this month ruled Canada’s refusal to assist Abdelrazik was a breach of the country’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which says no Canadian can be deprived of the right to life, liberty and security.