Ottawa government relents on Benhmuda family deportation charge repayment

Published:  8 Nov at 6 PM
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In a victory for common sense and fair treatment, the Ottawa federal government has waived immigration’s demand for full repayment of the Benhmuda family’s deportation charges and is issuing visas for their return.

Adel Benhmuda and his family were rejected as refugees after fleeing persecution in Libya in 2000 and arriving in Mississuaga where they began their new life. In 2008, their claim for refugee status was rejected by immigration and they were deported back to Libya, where Adel was arrested and tortured by the police for his brother’s involvement in an anti-Gadhafi organisation.

Six months after his release, the family escaped to Malta and made a home in a shipping container. In 2011, a formal request for their resettlement in Canada was made by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, but was refused.

Last January, a federal court condemned the Canadian immigration department for its original decision, but made the repayment of the deportation charges a condition for allowing the family to return. Supporters of the family were furious, calling the move an outrageous insult to injury and donated in droves after the story hit the media.

However, Immigration Minister Chris Alexander has now decreed that the CA$6,800 repayment charged by immigration is to be waived, and has ordered visas for the family to be immediately issued. Axel and his family, still in Malta at present, are thrilled and consider the minister’s intervention a ‘gift from God’ which enables them to return to Mississuaga and take up their lives again. The donations received will cover the cost of the family’s air fares to Ottowa, and any remaining sums will be pledged to a refugee charity.
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