16 February 2015 00:00
Tor Ekeland, P.C. is a New York City law firm representing clients at the cutting edge of technology and business law. The Firm handles a range of litigation and transactions involving computer law, Internet law, intellectual property, and business.
On Monday, February 9th, Matt DeHart’s parents, Paul and Leann, received notice by mail from the Refugee Protection Division of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board that the family’s claim for Refugee Protection had been denied. The family fled the United States after Matt was interrogated and tortured during an FBI espionage investigation in which child pornography charges were hastily filed after Matt was detained at the Canadian border, an action which was triggered by an espionage alert.
While I am disappointed that Matt and the DeHart family’s Refugee Claim was denied, I am heartened by the fact that the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada was just as skeptical as I am about the government’s child pornography claims against Matt. So skeptical, that the Board found that the Canadian Government had not met its low burden of proof to show that there were serious grounds to exclude Matt based on the allegations against him. Ultimately, however, the Board found that Matt’s solution lay with the US Court system and not Canada. We intend to vigorously defend Matt in the United States, as well as file a civil suit against the Federal Government for violations of Matt’s constitutional rights that he has endured in this process.
“I am extremely concerned not only for my own safety but for the safety of my parents. I have endured three years of maximum security prison conditions in Canada and the United States for something I didn’t do. But, the thought of my parents suffering at the hands of the US government as well is unbearable. I cannot imagine any life in a country which has already tortured me. Am I now to be given into the hands of my torturers?”
We were encouraged by the fact that the Refugee Board thoroughly reviewed the evidence submitted against Matt regarding the Child Pornography charges in the US and found the evidence so lacking that it didn’t even meet the low standards for excluding him from seeking refugee status. Therefore, part of their ruling was that he was not excluded. We are working with our Canadian attorneys to explore what legal options we have left in Canada including a stay of removal for Matt pending a judicial review of the refugee decision.
The central issue for us has always been Matt’s torture at the hands of US officials in August of 2010 and we specifically asked the Canadian government for protection based on torture in accordance with international law under the UN Convention Against Torture. Our claim of torture has never been investigated or addressed by officials of the US government. Unfortunately, this specific claim was not addressed by Canadian authorities either.
Our next steps will be taken with the very capably advice of highly dedicated attorneys both in Canada and the US. We ask the public in Canada, the US, and the world community to follow closely what happens to us so that no evil may befall us in the dark.