Abdi’s lawyer, Benjamin Perryman

Former Somali child refugee fights to stay in Canada

Former child refugee Abdoul Abdi’s judicial review set for today in Halifax

A judicial review is scheduled for today in the case of Abdoul Abdi, a former Somali child refugee fighting to stay in Canada.

The Canada Border Services Agency detained Abdi — who was never granted Canadian citizenship while growing up in foster care in Nova Scotia — after he served about five years in prison for multiple offences including aggravated assault.

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The application for judicial review seeks to challenge the government’s decision to refer his case to a deportation hearing, arguing the decision was unreasonable, unfair and contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and international law.

Abdi’s lawyer, Benjamin Perryman, says his client will not be attending the hearing scheduled for 1 p.m. in Federal Court in Halifax, as he is living and working in Toronto — one of the conditions of his release.

Last month, lawyers for two advocacy groups sought to intervene in the judicial review.

Perryman says the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Justice for Children and Youth have been granted intervener status.

Both groups argued before Justice Ann Marie McDonald that their positions would assist the court in arriving at a decision in Abdi’s case — one they claim will have wider implications for vulnerable youth in Canada.

Abdi, who was born in Saudi Arabia in 1993, lost his mother in a refugee camp when he was four and came to Canada with his sister and aunts two years later. He was taken into provincial care shortly after arriving in Canada.

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He was moved between foster homes 31 times. He lost his native language and developed behavioural problems that advocates say were not adequately treated. Those issues led to problems with the justice system and his non-citizenship put him at risk of deportation.

Abdi’s case has prompted supporters to call on the Nova Scotia government to intervene on his behalf, and sparked protests at events with federal leaders including a town hall earlier this year with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Lower Sackville, N.S.

The Canadian Press

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