Friday 17 January 2014

Stateless  man  in  Canadian  jail  indefinably


The so-called “Man With No Name,” who has been stuck in prison for almost seven years is because Canada’s border agents have been unable to confirm who he really is. This is one of the most perplexing immigration cases that has ever occurred in Canada. Immigration authorities are trying to confirm new revelations about a man who has chosen to live in a prison rather than reveal his true identity, which is needed before Canadian authorities can deport him.           


It appeared in 2011 that his name might have been Michael Mvogo, 51, a citizen of Cameroon, born in a coastal village between two expansive wildlife reserves, home to African forest elephants and mangrove trees. But no one can be sure because he has lied several times in the past about his identity. The Cameroon government was unable to confirm that he was a citizen of Cameroon. The authorities in that country could find no record of this man having any family there, or having even gone to school anywhere in that country. For this reason, Canadian federal officials simply haven't been able to deport Mvogo because they cannot obtain a travel document from Cameroon. If the Cameroon authorities gave him a passport, what would be to stop him from goin g into other countries and committing more crimes.  ­



He had originally come to Canada from the United States in 2005, and in 2006, he was arrested by the police for possession of a small amount of cocaine. After he pleaded guilty and served his one-day sentence, he was slated for deportation. Unfortunately the Immigration Authorities had no idea where to deport him to since he had entered Canada on a U.S. passport that wasn't his and that they couldn't determine his real identity. He claimed that he really was ­

an American citizen called Andrea Jerome Walker.






Canada had previously tried to deport Mvogo to the U.S., Guinea and Haiti but it was to no avail. There was no record of him being a citizen of those countries. An Interpol search in 2011 revealed that this man prior to leaving Haiti, was convicted of narcotic charges in Spain in 1986.

He has been in limbo since he was taken into custody in 2006 by the Canada Border Services Agency and held in immigration detention. He has spent much of the time since then in a provincial high-security jail in Lindsay, Ontario.

While in that jail, he said, “I was ashamed to go back to my country with nothing in my pocket after so many years. You know keeping me here, it doesn't make sense.”

But it does make sense. In 2004, the Canada Border Services Agency tried to deport Raed Jaser, a man who was born in the United Arab Emirates to Palestinian parents. He lived in Germany before arriving in Canada with his family. The Canadian authorities were unsuccessful in removing this man from Canada because no country would take him. He then became stateless. For this reason, the Canadian authorities decided to release him from jail and permit him to remain in Canada as a landed immigrant. He later threw Canada’s generosity back in the face of all Canadians by conspiring with Chiheb Esseghaler to derail a passenger train and later poison the water and air in hopes that at least 100,000 people in Canada would die.

The Canadian government no doubt doesn’t want to make that mistake again and that may very well have been in the minds of the judges who have consistently heard his pleas to be released back into Canadian society.

Audrey Macklin, a law professor at the University of Toronto and expert in immigration and human-rights matters, said that Mvogo's case points to an issue with how detainees are treated under Canadian immigration law. He also said, “As long as the Canadian government says it intends to deport them, they are effectively in limbo.” That means that they will remain in custody indefinitely.

I don’t have any sympathy for these kinds of people who slip into Canada illegally. Many of them will board planes in other countries and while on the planes, they rip up their passports and flush them down the plane’s toilets and when they arrive in Canada, they cry out, “I am a refugee.”  They are also then stateless since they have no evidence as to where they have come from. They are relying on the generosity of Canadians to accept them as if they are fleeing countries that are under suppression from dictatorial governments when in fact, they are really coming to Canada because it is a better place to live in than their own countries.

I sincerely believe that that was the motive of the “Man With No Name” who is currently residing in jail in Lindsay. He didn’t claim he was a refugee after he left Germany, entered the United States and then slipped into Canada with a false passport. “This Man With No Brain” should have remained where he was born because if he had, at least he would be free unless of course he committed crimes in that country. 

Macdonald Scott, Mvogo’s immigration consultant squawked, “It's been far too long and we demand that he be released.” Admittedly, it has been a long time since he was put in jail but the Canadian authorities don’t want this criminal wandering about in Canadian streets when he has no right to be in Canada in the first place. If he were permitted to become a landed immigrant, it would set a precedent that would result in thousands of people from other countries entering Canada with phony passports or alternatively with no passports at all for the sole purpose of being classed as stateless persons so that they can later be classed as landed immigrants in Canada.

An example has to be set so that others who plan to act in the same manner will be deterred from doing so in Canada. Many, many years ago, a judge Jeffreys, an English judge who was renowned for being extremely harsh in his sentences, passed a sentence of death on a man for stealing a sheep. The man said to the judge after the sentence was passed, “But Your Lordship. It was only a sheep.” The judge replied, “I didn’t sentence you to hang because you stole a sheep. I sentenced you to hang so that others of your ilk won’t steal a sheep.”

As I see it, this “Man With No Name” should spend the rest of his life in a penitentiary so that others of his ilk will be deterred from trying to pull of the same scam he has tried to pull off.  He shouldn’t have to spend a lifetime in prison for possessing a small cache of cocaine but instead because in trying to illegally remain in Canada by presenting to the Immigration authorities phony names which results that no country knows who he really is, would set a dangerous precedent. We could end up getting terrorists entering Canada in the same way.

It has been said that under international law, immigration detentions are supposed to be limited to 90 days, in most cases. But those rules are effectively voluntary by each country. In many countries, people who cross their borders without proper documentation are often spending a lifetime in refugee camps.

Meanwhile, the cost of holding immigration detainees in high-security jails is steep.  It costs $239 a day, and so far, the government has spent more than half a million dollars to keep him behind bars while it tries to deport him.

Back in the 1970s, I was a guest speaker at a crime conference held in Toronto and during my speech, I spoke of the possibility of creating a prison community in Northern Canada where lifers could be transferred  to these communities to serve their life sentences.  The community would be guarded by prison personnel and the lifers could have their own families live in the homes built for them if the families were willing to live in such a community. The lifers until they were too old to work would be paid a regular salary and after they retired, they would get a decent pension. Their families while living there could also work in the community. There would be a school, churches and recreational facilities in the community. The only way out of the community would be by plane or helicopter so in effect, it would be a prison without walls. The federal government conducted a series of studies on my proposal and finally decided not to build such a community. Had they done this, then the Man With No Name could spend the rest of his life in such a community with his family if his family would be willing to stay with him. This way, the Canadian taxpayers would not be forking out so much money keeping him in a high security jail, year after year.

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