A Canadian-Sudanese man once stranded in Khartoum for six years over his suspected links to al-Qaeda said on Thursday he now hoped to reclaim his life after being removed from a UN terror watch list.
Abousfian Abdelrazik, 49, was cleared after a review at his request by the UN Security Council 1267 Committee, which maintains the list.
Abdelrazik told a press conference he would now look for a job, which he had been unable to do while he was blacklisted.
Abdelrazik found himself on the UN no-fly list after traveling to Sudan to visit his ailing mother in March 2003.
He was eventually repatriated in 2009 after a federal court ordered Ottawa to provide him with travel documents and fly him home to Montreal to reunite with his family.
Yet he remained on the UN watch list and so was still subject to an asset freeze and an international travel ban.
Being on the list also meant it was a crime for anyone to provide him with financial assistance, including a salary.
Abdelrazik told reporters he wanted an apology from the Canadian government and was suing Ottawa for C$27 million (US$26.6 million).
While in Sudan, he said he was arrested and tortured. He accuses Canada of complicity.
Abdelrazik first arrived in Canada in 1990 as a refugee, fleeing his native Sudan over his opposition to Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir. He obtained Canadian citizenship in 1995.
The UN Security Council alleged that Abdelrazik provided support to al-Qaeda and the Kurdish extremist group Ansar al--Islam, and recruited supporters for them.
It also accused him of being “a member of a cell in Montreal, Canada, whose members met in al-Qaeda’s Khalden training camp in Afghanistan.”
Canada’s federal police and spy service examined Abdelrazik’s alleged ties to Ahmed Ressam, an al-Qaeda operative jailed for trying to bomb the Los Angeles airport in 1999. The two had met at a mosque in Montreal, where Abdelrazik lived for 13 years.
However, Abdelrazik was never charged, and has denied any involvement in acts of terror.