KHARTOUM (AFP) — Abousfian Abdelrazik is angry, broke and wants to go home. But the father-of-four is holed up inside Canada's embassy in Sudan and cannot, banned from flying as an alleged Al-Qaeda affiliate.
"I'm not violent. I'm an ordinary decent guy who wants to go home," said the 46-year-old Sudanese-Canadian by telephone. "I just want to be free."
Born in Sudan, Abdelrazik trained as a machinist and left in 1990 to build a new life in North America.
His dream ended, he said, when he visited his sick mother in Sudan in 2003. When he tried to return to Canada, he discovered his name was on an international no-fly list and he has been unable to leave ever since.
Five years later and after two stints in tough Sudanese prisons from August 2003 to July 2004 and November 2005 to July 2006 -- despite no charges against him -- he is still waiting to return to his family.
Abdelrazik is accused of links to Abu Zubeida, a lieutenant of Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden.
In 2002 and 2003, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service also examined his alleged ties to Ahmed Ressam, an Al-Qaeda operative jailed for trying to bomb Los Angeles airport in 1999. The two had met at a mosque in Montreal, where Abdelrazik lived for 13 years.
Although he has never been charged, Abdelrazik remains on a United Nations blacklist. He dismissed his alleged links to Ressam.
"None of it is true," he said. "I'm just a Canadian citizen wanting to go back to Canada where my children are. They are growing up without me."
Abdelrazik has four children and has never met his youngest daughter, who was born after he left for Sudan.
In April he sought temporary refuge at the embassy because he feared his life was in danger in Sudan because of the allegations against him. Heclaims he was tortured and repeatedly beaten with rubber pipes in Sudanese jails.
Three months later he remains trapped in a diplomatic limbo, not daring to risk leaving the haven of the compound.
"If I leave the embassy even for a few minutes they might not let me back in, so I have to stay here," he said. "Once out there, I am very scared they will arrest me again, straight away. I am terrified."
During the working day he sits in the embassy's waiting room and reads newspapers. He eats buffet meals provided by the embassy and at night sleeps on a poolside sun-lounger he drags into a changing room.
Outside the embassy's high razor-wire-topped walls life goes on.
-- 'They treat me OK but this place is still like a prison' --
"They treat me OK here, but this place is still like a prison to me," Abdelrazik said.
Requests to meet him inside the embassy are referred to Ottawa, where permission is politely refused.
But Abdelrazik is allowed to make two phone calls a day to his lawyer and family in Canada, and at night he can be reached by mobile phone, speaking under the gaze of security officers in the guard house.
"I want to get on with my life," he said.
Yavar Hameed, Abdelrazik's Ottawa-based lawyer, is filing a repatriation application in a Canadian federal court.
"He has no charge against him anywhere in the world," Hameed wrote in an email to AFP. "There is also no specific indictment against him as justification for him being on the UN travel ban."
The UN sanctions list is compiled by a committee from names provided by governments, and critics say few are challenged.
To remove a name is complicated, and several countries including Germany, Sweden and Switzerland have complained the procedure is too difficult.
A federal court judge has ruled that the Canadian government is not liable for Abdelrazik's legal fees and he scrapes by on a 100 dollar-a-month government loan.
The Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail quoted classified documents saying that Canadian intelligence warned against allowing Abdelrazik to return over fears it could upset US officials, who also have him on a no-fly list.
The daily said Washington labelled Abdelrazik a threat on July 20, 2007 -- the same day he was released from Sudanese custody.
His family, including his wife whom he divorced after their long years apart, have made emotional appeals for his safe return and for the travel ban to be lifted.
They also demand that Canada give him an emergency passport, since his previous documents have now expired.
A Canadian foreign ministry spokesman said "consular assistance" would continue to be provided.
"Services include medical and financial assistance, facilitating communications with family and lawyers, as well as providing 'temporary safe haven' at our embassy in Khartoum," the spokesman said.
"As this matter is currently under litigation, we cannot comment further on the situation."
Meanwhile Abdelrazik continues to hope. "Waiting and waiting, it's all that I can do," he said.
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