As concerned Canadian citizens, who believe strongly in the values of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, we feel that it is our duty to bring to your attention the plight of at least twelve of the accused in last summer’s arrests in Toronto, commonly known as the Toronto 18.
We are particularly concerned about their treatment at the Maplehurst Correctional Facility in Milton, Ontario.
These individuals, most of whom have launched constitutional challenges, have been kept in isolation, deprived of basic rights, including human interaction, communication, religious rights as well as rights and privileges that even convicted criminals are granted, etc. It is important to note that these individuals have not been convicted of any crimes and yet they are treated worse than convicted criminals.
We would also like to bring to your attention an extremely disturbing incident which occurred on Sunday May 13, 2007 (which was covered by the mainstream media) at the Facility. The incident in question involved the mistreatment, abuse and assault upon Mr. Steven Vikram Chand. We have heard reports that he was dragged out of the shower by his hair, his head was banged against the wall and he was dragged back to his cell for simply asking for an extra minute to wash out the soap from his long hair. He apparently also asked for a doctor and this request was denied. The incident was witnessed by some of the other accused and as a result they refused food from the Facility as an act of civil disobedience.
Other accused have also reported mistreatment for simply voicing their concerns, testifying in court and voicing opposition to their mistreatment.
In a free and democratic society based on the rule of law, we believe that the violations of the rights of the accused and the inappropriate acts against Mr. Chand and others are an insult to the Charter and the standards set by international law.
We believe that any such punishment given to any prisoner, whether convicted or not, is inhuman and violate fundamental human rights. The government and the people of Canada have committed to protecting the rights of all human beings and must take notice, and take action.
We, the undersigned, hereby demand an investigation of all guards and prison staff at the MapleHurst Correctional Complex handling Unit 1K.
For those currently imprisoned in Unit 1K at the Maplehurst Correctional Complex under such severe charges of terrorism which have not yet been brought to court, or have been argued, we demand:
That they be given equal privileges as all those detained at the Maplehurst Correctional Complex and must be treated with respect and dignity within the confines of the Canadian Law.
That all staff on duty be monitored to ensure proper respect, discipline and sensitivity when dealing with prisoners.
We would like to take this opportunity to remind you that that in a civil society such as Canada, individuals are to be considered and treated as innocent until proven guilty through a rigorous judicial process.
In addition, we would also like to remind you of Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that “No One shall be subjected to torture or to cruel inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.” Further, article 11 states “that everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has all the guarantees necessary for his defence.” We expect that you will honor your commitments under this treaty.
The Presumption of Innocence and Humane Treatment petition to Canadians was written by Jeff Lillard and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.