Jamila Bibi, a Saskatoon, Sask., woman facing criminal charges for adultery in Pakistan, could be the target of a so-called honour killing by her husband’s family if she is deported, her lawyer says.
Bibi had been working legally as a cook at Meg’s until she was attested while checking in at the Saskatoon immigration office last week. Yeasmin helped to organize a rally in her support Sunday while lawyer Bashir Khan worked tirelessly to compile a 168 page appeal.
“Lots of different kinds of people came to support that lady,” Yeasmin said. “…everyone was hoping that we would win that case, and they were going to listen to us.”
According to Monday’s Federal Court decision, Bibi’s refugee protection claim was denied in 2009, and a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) was ordered to determine the potential dangers of returning her to Pakistan. On May 26, 2011, that assessment found that the risk of her returning was not great enough to stop a deportation.
“The evidence is quite clear,” Bashir Khan argued, “she’s been charged with adultery, she’s wanted for the crime of adultery, there’s a magistrate’s warrant for her arrest, there’s been threats of honour killing [by her ex-husband’s family]…”
However, the evidence Khan presented to the federal court supporting these claims pre-dates the PRRA. Justice Bedard wrote that it was not the role of the federal court to revisit the PRRA decision. Based on that, she determined that Bibi “will not suffer irreparable harm if she is removed to Pakistan.”
Khan notes that the ruling ignores that Bibi has a case before the United Nations office of the high commissioner for human rights, the results of which are still pending.
“There was a rather strong argument made under international law, but unfortunately it wasn’t addressed,” Khan said. “To be honest with you I think it’s a very sovereignist attitude; why should somebody else tell us what our standards of human rights should be.”
Immediately following the decision, Bibi was moved from her incarceration at the Pinegrove Correctional Centre in Prince Albert to the Saskatoon Police detention unit. Khan said he was given no opportunity to talk to his client, or to inform her of the results himself.