Sunday, December 2, 2007

Feds reject refugee claim by disabled Laibar Singh

Jennifer Saltman, The Province
Published: Thursday, November 29, 2007

An application by Punjabi refugee claimant Laibar Singh to remain in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds has been denied by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

"Mr. Laibar Singh is incredibly disappointed and troubled from this news," Singh's lawyer, Zool Suleman, said last night.

Singh entered Canada on a forged passport in 2003, claiming political persecution, but suffered paralysis after a brain aneurysm a year ago.

He was ordered deported on July 8 but fled to the Abbotsford Sahib Kalgidhar Darbar Gurudwara temple July 7.

He was arrested Aug. 13 after leaving the temple to seek medical attention and was again ordered deported.

But on Aug. 18, he was granted a 60-day stay of deportation by Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day. Singh had been detained at the North Fraser Pretrial Centre.

He was granted a further 20-day reprieve on Oct. 20, pending a decision on his humanitarian and compassionate claim.

Harsha Walia of No One is Illegal said, "The deportation of Mr. Singh is profoundly inhumane and we continue to demand that the government of Canada allow Mr. Singh to remain in Canada."

Suleman said he will be exploring legal avenues, including an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada or a plea to Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada Diane Finley.

It costs the Canadian health-care system more than $146,000 a year to care for the 48-year-old. A medically staffed flight home would cost taxpayers $68,700.

Singh has four children in India.