Edmonton, AB (May 11, 2009)
Free Makhtal-Working Coalition, a coalition of citizens and residents of Canada, held a town hall meeting on Sunday, May 10, 2009 to raise awareness about the plight of Bashir Makhtal. Mr. Makhtal, a Canadian Citizen has been held in an Ethiopian military prison for over two years. Much of that time, he has not had access to legal representation nor where the charges against him ever been placed in front of a judge until early 2009, as a result of consist pressure the Makhtal family and the Free-Makhtal Working Coalition.
It is important to note that under the guise of the war on terror, Mr. Bashir Makhtal of Toronto, was illegally detained by the Kenyan Government in 2006 and without any court proceeding, was transferred to a military prison in Ethiopia. This type of secret and extraordinary rendition where any country can imprison anyone at anytime without any legal protection is against the laws and conventions of the international community. The Canadian people and government must come to the aid of their fellow Canadian.
Present at the town hall meeting were dignitaries such as the Honourable Laurie Hawn, Professor Hussein Warsame, Ms. Fowsia Abdulkadir, Chairperson of the Free-Makhtal Working Coalition of Ottawa, Mr. Obang Metho of the Solidarity Movement for New Ethiopia, and Mr. Said Makhtal family member and representatives of Somali communities of Calgary, Edmonton and Fort McMurray, who collectively spoke of the need for the Canadian government to act. All the participants of this Town Hall meeting showed that they stood in solidarity with the Free Makhtal-Coalition, shed light on Mr. Makhtal’s condition and covered what can and must be done.
Free Makhtal-Working Coalition, wishes to also commend the participants and offer our sincere thanks to the Honourable Minister of Transport, John Baird, for his thoughtful open-letter and his continued leadership on behalf of Mr. Makhtal. We look forward to future cooperation with him and his office.
All of our elected officials deserve special thanks for bringing a level of hope to the community that showed that Canadian leaders are paying close attention to this case.
It is with resounding unanimity that the attendees, participants and organizers hereby resolve:
- That Wednesday May20, 2009 become the designated Action Day for Free-Makhtal, a day to mobilize all concerned Canadians to call, e-mail and/or write to their Members of Parliament to bring Bashir Makhtal home.
- To mobilize all concerned Canadians to lobby the Canadian Parliament to leverage aid to Ethiopia to meet acceptable human rights standards for the Ogaden region and all Ethiopians.
- To work towards strong constituencies that advocates, and reach out to mainstream Canadian communities for justice for all Canadians.
For questions or press information, please contact Yassin Kassim at (780) 914-2226 and firstname.lastname@example.org.