Second Canadian hostage believed killed in the Philippines
- Abu Sayyaf, an Islamist separatist group in the southwest Philippines, reportedly beheaded Canadian citizen Robert Hall.
- Hall had been abducted from a Samal Island resort in September 2015 along with another Canadian (killed in late April), a Norwegian man, and a Filipina woman.
- The group had demanded an $8 million ransom, which the Canadian government refused to pay to deter future extortion attempts.
“Robert Hall, Canadian hostage, killed by Abu Sayyaf militants in Philippines” (CBC News)
“Philippines: Abu Sayyaf group beheads Canadian hostage” (Al Jaxeera)
“Extremists Have Killed Another Canadian Hostage In The Philippines” (BuzzFeed News)
(Image Credit: Site Intelligence Group/YouTube, via CBC News)
Canadian-Iranian arrested in Iran as detentions of dual citizens continue
- Homa Hoodfar, an anthropology professor at Concordia University in Montreal, was arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Tehran.
- Her family indicated that she had been detained and transferred to Iran’s notorious Evin prison on unspecified charges following extended interrogation.
- Iran, which doesn’t recognize dual citizenship, has imprisoned a growing number of dual nationals traveling from abroad in recent years under allegations of espionage and foreign collaboration.
“Canadian-Iranian professor arrested in Tehran by Revolutionary Guards” (The Guardian)
“Arrest of Homa Hoodfar in Iran Shines Light on Dangers for Dual Citizens” (The New York Times)
“Concordia University prof jailed in Iran’s Evin prison, family says” (CBC News)
(Image Credit: Amanda Ghahremani/Associated Press, via The New York Times)
UAE acquits Libyan-Americans and Libyan-Canadian of militancy charges
- Two Libyan-Americans and a Libyan-Canadian have been detained in the country since their 2014 arrests carried out in the wake of the passage of the UAE’s Anti-Terrorism Law, initially accused of supporting Libyan terrorist groups.
- The men had been held in secret for months, with reports indicating torture and deteriorating health during their more than 500 days of detention without a trial.
- The three businessmen had reportedly traveled in and out of the UAE without incident for decades, but the UAE’s zero-tolerance policy towards extremism has made many with even tenuous connections to countries with designated terrorist groups vulnerable.
“Two American businessmen acquitted in the United Arab Emirates of supporting militants” (The Washington Post)
“UAE acquits two Libyan-Americans and Canadian of militancy charges” (Reuters)
“‘Nowhere close to a fair trial’: pressure to aid Americans and Canadian in UAE” (The Guardian)
(Image Credit: Family photo, via The Washington Post)
Al-Qaeda–linked militants kill more than two dozen in attack on Burkina Faso capital
- At least 28 were killed when Islamist extremists launched an attack at the Cappuccino cafe and the Splendid Hotel, popular with UN staff and foreign visitors in the capital city of Ouagadougou.
- At least 18 nationalities were identified among the victims, including Burkinabe, Canadian, French, Swiss, Dutch, and American citizens.
- Of the 176 hostages freed by security forces, at least 56 were injured in the violence.
“Burkina Faso attack: Foreigners killed at luxury hotel” (BBC)
“Burkina Faso hotel attack: 18 nationalities among dead” (The Guardian)
“Six Canadians killed in Burkina Faso attack, PM Trudeau says” (Reuters)
(Image Credit: AP, via BBC)
Developing: Tourists in the Philippines abducted at gunpoint
- Two Canadians, a Norweigian, and a Filipina were taken from the popular Holiday Oceanview Samal Resort near Davao City on the island of Mindanao Island.
- Though the gunmen have not been identified, peace with Islamist rebels was reached only in 2014, leading to worries of renewed conflict.
- Authorities indicated that the foreigners had been targeted rather than randomly taken, and police and coast guard operations have been activated to find the abductees.
Read the full story at BuzzFeed News.
Audit finds U.S. border patrol violated rules in vast majority of deportations of children over five-year period
- The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that from 2009 to 2014, 93% of unaccompanied Mexican and Canadian children under 14 were deported without documentation of the safety assurance process.
- Unaccompanied Mexican and Canadian children undergo interviews with border patrol authorities to determine if they have been or will be trafficked, persecuted, or otherwise endangered in their home country.
- Immigration lawyers and rights monitors have questioned the effectiveness and legality of having border patrol oversee the interviews, arguing their officers are not the appropriate figures to make such determinations.
“CBP just does not have the training, the understanding of humanitarian protection, to make the assessment of these children from Mexico before sending them back to their home countries.”
Read the full story at the Guardian.
(Image Credit: John Moore/Getty Images, via the Guardian)
Religious freedom and politics face off over face-covering ban for Canadian citizenship oaths
- A legal showdown looms over the constitutionality of the 2011 policy requiring oath-takers to have their faces uncovered, which conservative Muslims say violates their religious freedom.
- A federal judge ruled in favor of a Muslim woman who had been denied citizenship after refusing to unveil herself, leading the government to appeal.
- Lawyers for the woman hope to have the constitutionality of the ban addressed in the appeal ruling, while Conservative politicians have drummed up the issue as a political one.
“Despite the party’s success with new immigrants and ethnic communities … and spearheading connections to those communities, a lot of the base still has a view that minority cultures have inappropriate practices.”
Read the full story at The StarPhoenix.