Canada’s embassy in Amman has become involved in the attempt to deport a Jordanian citizen who spread Islamic State propaganda online while living in B.C. as a refugee, a hearing heard Thursday.
A liaison officer at the Canadian Embassy has been asked to speak to Jordanian authorities following Othman Ayed Hamdan’s repeated refusals to co-operate with his deportation order.
The request was made by a Canada Border Services Agency removals officer in Vancouver.
“The removals officer is waiting for a response to this request that he made to Jordanian authorities via the CBSA liaison officer in Amman,” a CBSA official Randal Hyland said at the hearing.
The deportation case is the first to target an alleged, online ISIS supporter.
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The Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) ordered Hamdan’s deportation in October on the grounds he was a danger to Canada’s security. He was also stripped of his refugee status.
The government was supposed to deport Hamdan “as soon as possible,” but his Jordanian passport has expired and he has refused to fill out the paperwork required to obtain a new one.
The latest attempt to elicit his co-operation occurred on Dec. 6, when a CBSA removals officer visited Hamdan at the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre, where he is being detained.
After speaking to his lawyer on the phone, Hamdan read a statement to the CBSA officer saying that contacting the Jordanian authorities was “premature and ill-advised.”
As a result, the CBSA has asked its liaison officer in Amman to see if the Jordanian government will allow a deportation to take place using an expired Jordanian passport and national identity card.
The CBSA has Hamdan’s identity card and two of his expired passports.
Hamdan arrived at the B.C. border from Washington State in 2002, and made a refugee claim based on what the CBSA now calls a fictitious story about converting to Christianity.
In 2014, while living in Fort St. John, B.C., he began posting messages on Facebook that “identified infrastructure in Canada which could be targets for attack,” according to the IRB.
He also “encouraged lone wolves in the West who could not travel abroad to carry out attacks at home,” the IRB said in its ruling, which found Hamdan had promoted the “social media agenda” of ISIS.
While Hamdan was acquitted of terrorism charges, the Refugee Board ruled he was a danger to security and ordered his deportation. Hamdan has appealed the decision to the Federal Court.
Hamdan declined to participate in Thursday’s detention hearing after claiming he was a victim of persecution and that the proceedings exacerbated his various disorders.
“As a result of the malicious prosecution that I endured at the hands of the minister and RCMP and Crown representatives, and a criminal matter which I was acquitted of, I have developed a multitude of psychological disorders,” he said.
Hyland asked the IRB to keep Hamdan in detention, citing a recent government report that called “Sunni Islamist extremism” Canada’s top terrorist threat and described how ISIS incited supporters to attack the West.
The 2018 Public Report on the Terrorist Threat to Canada also recalled how the two deadly terrorist attacks that followed in Canada in October 2014 were praised online by ISIS supporters.
“Those supporters include Hamdan,” Hyland said.
The IRB said it would rule on Hamdan’s detention next Wednesday.