Anglican Samizdat

April 17, 2009

Bishop of Montreal, Barry Clarke sponsors a “refugee”

Barry Clarke is sponsoring Djamel Ameziane, an Algerian presently detained in Guantánamo Bay:

Bishop Barry Clarke of the Anglican diocese of Montreal, has been speaking out about why the diocese decided to sponsor Mr. Ameziane as a part of an ecumenical partnership with the Presbyterian Church in Montreal called Action Refugee Montreal. “There’s an injustice here,” he said, noting that one the Five Marks of Mission in the Anglican Communion is changing unjust structures in society.

Mr. Ameziane has been imprisoned in Guantánamo since 2002, but has never been charged with a crime. According to information from the Center for Constitutional rights in New York where lawyers have taken on his case, he is an ethnic Berber who fled Algeria 17 years ago. He came to Canada but was denied refugee status and then traveled to Afghanistan. “As a foreigner in a land soon torn apart by conflict, he was an easy target for corrupt local police who captured him while he was trying to cross the border into Pakistan. Mr. Ameziane was then sold to U.S. military forces for a bounty,” his lawyers say.

I doubt that Barry particularly cares whether Ameziane is a terrorist or not as long as he meets the criterion of suffering an apparent “injustice”, and I’m sure that bishop Barry regards imprisoning someone without trial an injustice even if he is a terrorist.

Whether Ameziane is a terrorist or not is, at the very least, an open question:

A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for the tribunal, listing the alleged facts that led to his detainment. His memo accused him of the following:

a. The detainee is associated with al Qaida:

1.       In late 2000, the detainee, who claims Algerian citizenship, [9] traveled to Afghanistan from Canada on a fraudulent passport.

2.       Prior to his departure from Canada, the detainee received 1,200 to 1,500 Canadian dollars from a Tunisian man who had encouraged the detainee to travel to Afghanistan.

3.       The detainee was instructed to go to a guesthouse in Kabul upon his arrival in Afghanistan, which direction the detainee ultimately followed.

4.       The detainee noted that a number of the other residents of the guesthouse were Taliban fighters.

5.       The guesthouse in Kabul was run by an al Qaida communications specialist.

6.       The detainee then stayed in a guesthouse in Jalalabad, Afghanistan with a number of Arab men.

7.       The detainee traveled with Taliban fighters through the Tora Bora mountains during the U.S. bombing campaign.

8.       The detainee traveled illegally to Pakistan without any documentation and was captured by the Pakistani military at a mosque.

9.       The detainee escaped from a bus that was forcibly overtaken by other prisoners with the detainee, but he was captured again a short time later by Pakistani authorities.

Look out Montreal.

Considering the number of Christians who suffer persecution world wide,  one wonders why Bishop Barry doesn’t sponsor one of them: not trendy enough and they could be fundamentalists who oppose same-sex blessings.



  1. Many of your points are well taken, but – imprisoning someone without trial is injustice, even if it seems that he may be a terrorist. He ought to have been tried.

    Comment by Kate — April 17, 2009 @ 3:42 pm

  2. In my opinion these prisoners are illegal combatants and are being treated with all due regard “NOT” entitled to them (as per Articles 4 & 5 of the Geneva Convention) and they are subject to trial by a Military Tribunal (not a Federal Criminal Court) and “if he is found guilty of a crime, then the “unlawful combatant” can be punished by whatever lawful methods are available to the Party to the conflict.” (i.e. Death or Life in Prison as they have commited murder in the case of causing the death of a US service member)

    The United States is well within it’s rights (as per Article 42 of the Geneva Convention) and use “internment” to detain the “unlawful combatant”. Also, in light of the fact that the Taliban, Al Qaeda, et al., are not contract parties to the Geneva Conventions, and due to the fact that these belligerent parties due not treat their prisoners in accordance to any International law or protocol (including Islamic Military Jurisprudence) these detractors should be singling out “Club Gitmo” as a model of military humanitarianism.

    Comment by KJC402 — April 18, 2009 @ 11:48 am

  3. He can sponsor anyone he wants but until the Americans actually decide to open the gates this is just posturing. In all probability the US will send the prisoners back to their own country. The fact he has been previously denied refugee status will likely prevent his consideration by Canada

    Comment by Steve L. — April 19, 2009 @ 9:43 pm

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