Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Secrecy Shrouds Death of 'Agitated' Man in Canadian Immigration Custody

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Secrecy Shrouds Death of 'Agitated' Man in Canadian Immigration Custody

Article excerpt

Secrecy shrouds immigration custody death


TORONTO - The death of a man in Canadian immigration custody was shrouded in secrecy Friday with details sketchy and authorities refusing to say who he was or how he died.

Results of an autopsy were unknown and family of the man, who had yet to be buried, were requesting privacy over the weekend, his lawyer said late Friday.

"It's obviously a big shock -- he was a young man," Andrew Brouwer told The Canadian Press. "There's still a good deal of uncertainty about exactly what happened."

However, an activist group that works with detainees cited hospital staff and the family as saying the man died from a lack of effective medical care for his diabetic condition -- although Brouwer did not confirm that.

The group, End Immigration Detention Network, accused Canada Border Services Agency of a lack of transparency and decried its use of prisons to hold foreigners not charged with any crime.

"CBSA is clearly unwilling to act on the death and misery caused by immigration detention," the network's Syed Hussan said in a statement. "It needs to end."

In a brief news release late Thursday, the border agency announced the death of the man in hospital in Peterborough, Ont.

"The Canada Border Services Agency was notified by the Peterborough General Hospital that an adult male detainee, who was receiving care, passed away in hospital," the statement said.

The release, issued about 18 hours after the death, gave no further information about who he was, where he was from, or any other circumstances of his detention or death.

A trickle of details emerged a few hours later when the province's Special Investigations Unit, which probes reports of death or serious injury involving police, said it was investigating.

The unit said the man was 39 years old and was being detained at the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, Ont. He had been admitted to hospital for medical reasons under police escort, the SIU said. …

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