Thursday, July 13, 2006

CPT & Mennonite delegates call for end to Canadian secret trials

Dear friends,

WELCOME to all the new members of the Peace Witness Action List who signed up at the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference last week!

Here's an Anabaptist peacemaking news item from Alberta! 
        I especially appreciated the mention of Anabaptist spiritual disciplines below. . .  What is the difference for you between peacemaking/truth telling/economic sharing as *spiritual disciplines* instead of simply good moral choices?

Blessings to you,
Matt Guynn
On Earth Peace

CPTnet ~
11 July 2006

EDMONTON, ALBERTA: CPT, Mennonite Church Canada delegates call for end to secret trials and "security certificates."

On Thursday, 6 July 2006, Mennonite Church Canada Assembly delegates and Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) Canada members and supporters walked en masse to deliver a petition of eighty signatures to the office of Edmonton-Strathcona Member of Parliament (MP) Rahim Jaffer.  The petition called for an end to secret trials in Canada, and release or charge of those currently held under "security certificates."

The government of Canada, using a secret trial security certificate under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, can declare any refugee or permanent resident inadmissible to Canada, have them arrested, and held without charge or bail indefinitely.  It can also refuse to allow either that person or their lawyer to see the evidence against them.  Currently, Canada is detaining five Muslim men on security certificates, who have served between three and six years without charge.

Delegate Judith Doell, pastor of Whitewater Mennonite Church in Boissevain, Manitoba, admitted that she was not aware of this issue until she saw information at the Assembly.  What drew her to the walk is a passion for justice, an uneasiness with growing militarization in Canada, and the message of the Assembly Ministers' Conference held the first day.

"We talked about three spiritual disciplines of the Anabaptists--peacemaking, truth telling and economic sharing.  Speaking out against these secret trials is peacemaking and truth telling in action."

The walk began at the Delta Edmonton South Hotel, where over 500 delegates to the annual assembly met over four days, and attracted representatives from the Edmonton Coalition Against War and Racism, the Raging Grannies and Women in Black.  Three kilometres and forty-five minutes later, the group of more than twenty arrived at the office of MP Rahim Jaffer.  In his absence, the group presented the petition and background information to Jaffer's staff.  CPT Co-Director Doug Pritchard noted to those gathered that Jaffer, in attending Edmonton area vigils, had supported CPT during a four-month kidnapping crisis in Iraq which took a CPT delegation of four hostage.

"Now, we're urging Mr.  Jaffer to consider a similarity and use his position as MP to call for the abolition of this unjust legislation," Pritchard said.

Former CPT hostage James Loney advocated for the detainees in an open letter to MPs delivered last month during Supreme Court of Canada hearings on the constitutionality of security certificates legislation.  "Insofar as these five men have not been charged, they are subject to an unjust deprival of freedom just as I was," he wrote.


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