Tuesday, September 06, 2005

To: mkwinter.mpp@liberal.ola.org

Cc: pm@pm.gc.ca, McLellan.A@parl.gc.ca, volpej@parl.gc.ca, cotlei@parl.gc.ca, tasc@web.ca

Monte Kwinter
Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services
Government of Ontario
Re: Hunger strike of Hassan Almrei

Dear Mr. Kwinter,

I am writing to urge you to take immediate action to meet the legitimate demands of Mohammad Mahjoub, who has been detained without trial in an Ontario prison for over five years and is now on a hunger strike to demand minimally decent conditions of detention. His main demands include proper medical treatment for the Hepatitis C he contracted at the jail (a prescribed liver biopsy has been denied), proper medical care for as knee injury sustained at the jail, filling a long-neglected prescription for eyeglasses, and touch visits with his young children once a month. Although he is a federal detainee, he is within your jurisdiction in a provincial jail, and it is therefore your responsibility to respond to this crisis.

As of today (Tuesday, September 6), Mohammad Mahjoub is on Day 62 of his hunger strike. Mr. Mahjoub was already in poor health before beginning his current hunger strike, and medical professionals have stated, in a letter to Prime Minister Paul Martin September 2, 2005, that Mahjoub is at imminent risk of permanent, severe impairment, and very possibly, of death. By way of comparison: in 1981, Bobby Sands and 9 other IRA prisoners on hunger strike died after periods varying from 46 to 73 days after sustaining severe organ damage, e.g., blindness. Several survivors of the strike remained permanently handicapped. In 1996, many Kurdish hunger strikers in Turkey died after periods of 65 to 69 days.

Please intervene immediately to try to find a humane solution to this situation. You have the power, and therefore the moral responsibility, to resolve this crisis.

Surely it is not too much to ask for a monthly contact visit with two small children and for proper medical care.

As Canadians, we pride ourselves on respecting basic human rights. Please remain true to this fundamental value. Should Mohammad Mahjoub die or be permanently handicapped, it would be to our lasting shame and dishonour as Canadians and as members of the human family.

I look forward to your prompt response to my letter and to positive action to resolve this crisis.

[your name and address]

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