Refugee Who Fears Fatwa Gets Reprieve

Refugee who fears fatwa gets reprieve
Changed Religion

Graeme Hamilton
National Post
Published: Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A Federal Court judge has granted a temporary reprieve to a failed refugee claimant who says he fears his father, a fundamentalist imam in Guinea, will have him killed for converting to Christianity.

Justice Michel Shore ordered Citizenship and Immigration Canada to conduct a new assessment of the risk Lamine Yansane faces if returned to Guinea, citing evidence that Mr. Yansane's father has issued a fatwa against him.

The federal immigration agent who last year dismissed Mr. Yansane's fears failed to conduct a reasonable evaluation of the situation, the judge concluded. “In his case, the change of religion, apostasy, is punishable by death,” Mr. Shore wrote. “Mr. Yansane's father, in evidence that has not been contradicted, threatened his own son with death by a fatwa announced publicly during official prayers.”

Mr. Yansane, 37, arrived in Canada from Guinea in the fall of 2005. He told the Immigration and Refugee Board that he fled the West African nation after his father and uncle tracked him down in the country's capital of Conakry, confronted him about his church attendance and threatened him as a traitor to Islam. His wife and three children remain in Guinea. He officially converted to Catholicism in 2007.

The board member who heard his case in 2006 did not believe him and called his testimony “devoid of credibility.” But Mr. Yansane's lawyer has since gathered additional evidence supporting his story from religious authorities in Guinea and from a Conakry lawyer hired to investigate. Last year the National Post reached Mr. Yansane's father in the town of Boke, Guinea, and he said his son would be in danger if he returned.

Mr. Yansane, who has a full-time job operating an overhead crane in a Montreal factory, said yesterday that he is encouraged by the ruling. “I am very, very happy,” he said. “It gives me great hope to be able to stay in Canada.”

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Related Topics :

Lamine Yansane

Michel Shore

Citizenship and Immigration Canada