Canadian boy latest victim of Bush’s GWOT

This article that I read in today’s Star (Friday, Feb. 16) is unbelievably bizarre.

It’s the story of a 9-year-old Canadian boy, who is being held at the Hutto detention centre in Taylor, Texas.

The child’s only crime was that he and his Iranian parents happened to be on a flight enroute from Guyana on what was a direct flight to Toronto on February 4th. Unfortunately, the plane was diverted to Puerto Rico after a passenger suffered a heart attack.

Once they disembarked, US officials discovered the family was travelling with fake Greek passports. They were detained for five days, then flown to the detention centre in Texas.

Why was this Iranian family travelling on fake Greek passports in the first place? Well, this family’s complicated journey began after the couple fled Iran, arriving in Toronto in January 1995. They lived here for 10 years, seeking asylum, gave birth to a son, then were deported back to Iran.

The boy’s father claimed he had been originally persecuted in Iran after he was discovered with novelist Salman Rushdie’s book. Once they were sent back there from Canada, they were detained and tortured for three months while the boy lived with relatives. Once released from custody, they again fled, reaching Turkey with the help of relatives. They bought fake passports and eventually travelled to Guyana, the parents said.

A student worker at the University of Texas immigration clinic was contacted by the boy’s father, after which this worker called the Canadian Consulate in Dallas, where he was told consular officials would investigate the detainment. However, when the worker did not receive a return call, he again called the Consulate leaving another message. There’s still no word from the Canadian officials, and their spokesperson could not be reached for comment yesterday.

This family was not even trying to get into the US. By sheer misfortune, they became the latest casualties of Bush’s paranoid policies in his GWOT crusade.

The T. Don Hutto Family Detention Center in Texas has been condemned by immigration rights groups. The ACLU is studying conditions there, with the possibility of a lawsuit “contending that the laws protecting detained juveniles are being violated”. The detention centre is holding 170 children.

For full article read: Canadian boy caught in Texas detention

The failure of the Canadian Consulate in Texas to assist this family immediately upon being made aware of their situation is beyond negligence. It is downright deplorable. If they continue with this unresponsiveness, it will underscore how deeply integrated Canada is with US policy and our complicity in that country’s egregious acts.

I hope the Toronto Star will keep us updated about this family’s plight. I know that I will be following it closely, as should all people concerned about human rights and civil liberties. Indeed, all Canadians should pay close attention and ask if themselves if this is the direction we want our country headed.

4 Responses to Canadian boy latest victim of Bush’s GWOT

  1. Matthew Pizzo says:

    I still haven’t heard anything from the Canadian Consulate regarding the parents, they hae confirmed that the child is a Canadian citizen. If anyone has any ideas on how this family could be returned to Canada, I would be happy to hear them.

    my email address: xxxxxxxx

    I am the student mentioned in the article.


  2. verbena19 says:

    Matthew, thank you so much for your comment, and for the hard work you are trying to do on behalf of this family. I will send out your comment & email info along with my post to all my fellow activists and a Canadian immigration lawyer whom I know. Someone must help!

    Please let me know asap you hear from anyone. My email address is:


  3. verbena19 says:

    P.S. Matthew, I’ve just sent you a quick email, and I’m working on a letter, with copy to you. Hopefully something will be done! Thanks again for your help and for contacting me.

    best regards,


  4. […] boy latest victim of Bush’s GWOT This is an update on my post of several days ago: Canadian boy latest victim of Bush’s GWOT in which I refer to an article in the Friday, February 16 Toronto […]


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