Paralyzed man took sanctuary in Abbotsford, B.C., temple after losing refugee claim
The Canada Border Services Agency has detained a man who sought sanctuary in an Abbotsford, B.C., Sikh temple after he left to seek medical attention Monday night.
Laiber Singh was arrested at Matsqui-Sumas-Abbotsford General Hospital at 10 p.m. PT after leaving the Kalgidhar Darbar Sahib Society temple.
Supporters wheel Laiber Singh out of the Kalgidhar Darbar Sahib Society temple where he had taken sanctuary in Abbotsford , to speak to reporters, July 9, 2007.
The 48-year-old is the subject of a deportation order issued July 8.
Faith St. John, the agency's Pacific region spokeswoman, told CBC News on Tuesday that detainees do have access to necessary medical treatment.
"In cases where there are health concerns, the Canada Border Services Agency consults with medical professionals and relies on their expertise to determine if a person is in a condition to travel," St. John said, declining to comment on Singh's case.
"Based on this informationm, we identify ways to best accommodate the individual," she said.
Singh's lawyer, Zool Suleman, said Singh, who is partially paralyzed, went to hospital to seek medical attention.
"It's unclear at this time where he's being held and what Canada Border Services' intentions are for him," Suleman said.
"We're extremely concerned, given his health condition, that he has been detained."
Suleman said his main concern is ensuring that Singh is receiving proper medical attention while in detention.
Came to Canada on false passport
Singh was healthy when he entered Canada on a false passport in 2003. At a refugee hearing, he argued he would be persecuted by police in the Indian state of Punjab who have accused him of links to separatist militants.
But since arriving in Canada, he has developed serious medical problems. After suffering an aneurysm, he was partially paralyzed.
He then argued that if deported to India, he would die because he wouldn't get proper medical treatment there.
After losing his refugee claim and appeals, Singh was ordered deported, but turned to the temple for sanctuary.
Supporters at the temple said they would take care of Singh and provide medical treatment, and that doctors and nurses had volunteered to take care of him.
He has no family in Canada, but has children in India.