Ministry restates reasons why couple being deported

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The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration wants the reasons reiterated why a Kosovo couple, living in Chatham, face deportation.

The Chatham Daily News, which has been following the story of the fight by Muhamet Barjraktari, 36, and his wife, Ganimete Berisha, 29, to stay in Canada, published a story Monday, stating the couple has recently launched a petition to try to have the decision reversed.

A ministry official contacted The Chatham Daily News by e-mail on Monday asking why the information in a decision provided by the Refugee Protection Division, that appeared in the May 13 issue of the newspaper, didn't appear in this story.

“As your original article pointed out, Mr. Bajraktari and Ms. Berisha were in Canada for about three years and only filed refugee claims after realizing their work permits were set to expire,” said Ana Curic, ministry spokesperson.

Monday's article, which focused on their petition, did state the couple's work visas had expired and their refugee claim had been turned down. Details about why their refugee claim was turned down was also included in a story in the May 22 issue of The Daily News.

Curic said the Refugee Protection Division decision regarding their refugee claim, noted that the family did not have a “well-founded fear since there is not a serious possibility of persecution.”

She added the RPD decision maker pointed that Bajraktari had filed three previous refugee claims in three different liberal, democratic countries – Switzerland, Germany and the USA – before making a claim in Canada. One claim was rejected and two were withdrawn.

“The RPD decision-maker also highlighted the fact that his claim for protection in Switzerland, Mr. Bajraktari indicated he was in danger due to his father's pro-independence activities in Kosovo while his claim in Canada indicated he was in danger due his father's complicity with Serb authorities in jailing Albanians who were advocating for an independent Kosovo,” Curic wrote.

She noted this discrepancy led the RPD decision-maker to state: “This also shows that the male claimant is willing to fabricate a story to advance a claim for protection.”

Bajraktari previously addressed these issues during an interview with The Daily News, stating he was not obliged to let Canadian immigration officials have access to information about his refugee claims in other countries.

He said had nothing to hide and wanted to work with the Canadian government, so he gave them permission to look at these other claims.

Bajraktari also noted his father, who was with the secret service, answered to different leaders at the time he made his refugee claim several years ago in Switzerland. He said the leadership changed years later and his father was viewed in a negative way because of his activities from years prior.

Bajraktari claims he has been stopped by soldiers with the Albanian National Army, who called him a “son of a spy.” He added he was fired upon a few times while fleeing from soldiers.

He maintains he fears for his safety if he had to return to Kosovo.

This issue has sparked strong opinions on both sides of the issue with online commentators. Some people have little or no sympathy for the couple to others who support letting them stay in Canada.

 

Ellwood.shreve@sunmedia.ca

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