Updated Thu. Mar. 22 2007 10:07 AM ET
CTV.ca News Staff
The lawyer for a nine-year-old Canadian boy and his Iranian parents, who are back in Canada after being held at a Texas detention centre, says the legal battle is not over.
Nine-year-old Kevin Kourdkhani walks through the airport with his mother Masomeh Alibegi (left) and father Majid (blue shirt) after arriving in Canada Wednesday, March 21, 2007. (CP / Adrian Wyld)
"We will be requesting permanent status on humanitarian and compassionate grounds and we'll also be asking for refugee protection," their lawyer, Andrew Brouwer told Canada AM on Thursday.
The family was detained last month by U.S. Customs officials after their Toronto-bound flight made an unscheduled stop on American soil. They had been attempting to flee Iran.
Custom officials discovered that they had false passports and sent them to a Texas detention centre.
They were finally released after Immigration and Citizenship Minister Diane Finley granted the family temporary passage to Canada.
Kevin's parents originally fled to Canada in January 1995 and lived in Toronto for 10 years while seeking political asylum. Their son was born in Toronto in 1997.
But their attempt at that time to gain refugee status in Canada was rejected.
They were then deported back to Iran in December 2005 after exhausting all their legal avenues. Upon their return, the couple says they were both tortured.
Back in Canada, they now face an uphill battle as their temporary resident permits only last for six months.
Meanwhile, the family is fighting back over conditions at the U.S. detention centre.
"Kevin is one of about 10 plaintiffs in a lawsuit that was filed a couple of weeks ago by the American Civil Liberties Union challenging the condition of detention centre," said Brouwer.
Upon their arrival Wednesday night at Toronto's Pearson International Airport, the family tearfully thanked the Canadian government for its efforts to win their release.
"Thank you for everybody who helped us," Kevin said as he stood beside his mother. "I will go back to my school, to my teachers."
The boy had written a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, pleading for his family's release.
"I don't like to stay in this jail. Please bring me and my family to Canada," he wrote.
With a report from the Canadian Press