Jamila Bibi, a 65-year-old woman residing in Saskatoon, has been deported back to Pakistan, where she is expected to face violent punishment for a ‘crime’ she did not commit.
After her husband falsely accused her of adultery, Bibi fled to Canada in 2007. These false accusations began when Bibi was awarded property in a land dispute. Her husband claimed she committed adultery as a way to get revenge. As a result, she was jailed in Pakistan but released on bail. However, it was no longer safe for her to stay in Pakistan, so she came to Canada and got a job working as a cook in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
A CTV report claims that Bibi is now in Pakistan but is safe and in hiding. If she is found, she could potentially be killed. According to traditional Islamic law, the punishment for married people who commit adultery is being stoned to death. There is also the threat that Bibi could be the target for an honour killing orchestrated by her husband and his family.
In 2011, deportation was ordered to Bibi as she failed to secure refugee status. The order was put on hold after Bibi’s lawyer, Bashir Khan, brought the case to the United Nations. In her statement to the UN, Bibi emphasized that she was working hard to establish herself in Saskatoon but Canadian immigration officials rejected her application for a work permit.
In November, the UN began to review Bibi’s case. However, they decided to withdraw the request to stop Bibi’s deportation. In an email to CTV, the UN said that they will actively review the case while Bibi is in Pakistan.
Last week, Bibi was arrested and detained. Her lawyer highlighted that normally a person who is deported is given ten days notice that they are to leave the country but Bibi was only given five.
A four-page court decision by Judge Marie Josée-Bédard, contains the reasons behind Bibi’s deportation. “There is no need for me to determine whether the applicant’s underlying application raises a serious issue and whether the balance of convenience favours the applicant or the respondents,” Bédard stated.
With the news of her deportation, there has been an outpour of support for Bibi’s return to Canada, especially in Saskatoon. Supporters have been sending flowers and making donations to the restaurant Bibi worked at.
— Madeline Kotzer (@MadelineKotzer) September 15, 2014
— Evan Radford (@EvanRadford) September 16, 2014
I’m appalled at Canadas decision to deport Jamila Bibi especially due to the U.N request to delay any decision until investigations was done
— سيد حسن حيدر (@Hassasanator) September 18, 2014
Treating immigrant and refugee claimants like prisoners is standard practice in Canada. No surprises w/Jamila Bibi. @CBCOntarioToday
— Rosella Chibambo (@Chibambo) September 19, 2014
Feature image: Mark Rubens via Shutterstock