POLITICS

Saskatoon woman, 65, faces death if deported to native Pakistan: lawyer

09/15/2014 06:45 EDT | Updated 11/15/2014 05:59 EST
WINNIPEG - A woman who fled to Canada from Pakistan — and who may be stoned to death upon her return, according to her lawyer — lost what may have been her final bid Monday to avoid deportation.

A Federal Court of Canada judge rejected an application to stay the deportation of Jamila Bibi, a 65-year-old cook in Saskatoon. Bibi's removal from the country has been set for Tuesday, barring last-minute intervention by the federal public safety minister.

"The applicant has not presented evidence before this court that could support a finding that she will face risks if she is removed to Pakistan that have not been already assessed on two occasions (by immigration officials)," Justice Marie-Josee Bedard wrote.

"Therefore, and considering that the applicant’s allegation of irreparable harm is based on risks, she has not met her evidentiary burden."

Bibi's Winnipeg lawyer, Bashir Khan, had not yet spoken to his client late Monday afternoon. She was being held in custody in Saskatoon.

Khan said Bibi fled to Canada in 2007 after being falsely accused of adultery by her husband, and her life is in danger if she is forced to return.

"Traditional Islamic law does call for stoning to death for those people who are married (and commit adultery)," he said.

"And also, she's a target for honour killing."

Bibi was originally scheduled to be deported in 2012 after losing a bid for refugee status, but filed a complaint to the United Nations high commissioner for human rights. Her case was being examined and Khan expected the federal government would wait for a decision before deporting Bibi.

Instead, he said, he was surprised when she was arrested last week.

In her letter to the UN, Bibi wrote she has worked hard to establish herself in Saskatoon but her application for a work permit was not processed.

"I know my life would be in danger if I an sent back and I would rather to have peaceful death here than be killed for something that I did not do," she wrote.

Khan hoped Monday federal Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney would intervene and halt the deportation before it is carried out.