Wednesday, November 26, 2008

[Montreal] Vigil for Mohamed Anas Bennis: Monday, December 1st


A vigil to commemorate the life of Anas Bennis, killed 3 years ago by Montreal Police

3pm-5pm, Monday, December 1st, 2008
Park Kent (corner of Kent and Côte-des-Neiges)
Côte-des-Neiges metro, bus #165 North

Family-friendly vigil!! Bring your placards and banners!!

Dress warmly!! Coffee and hot chocolate will be served!!

Early in the morning of December 1, 2005, Anas Bennis was on his way home following morning prayers in a nearby mosque in his neighbourhood of Côte-des-Neiges when he was shot twice by Montreal police officer Yannick Bernier who was taking part in an unrelated police intervention along with officer Jonathan Roy. Anas was pronounced dead on arrival to the hospital.

Now, almost three years later, the Bennis family and the public are hardly any closer to understanding exactly why Anas, a young Canadian man of Moroccan origin who was described as a mild-mannered and sensitive person, was killed by the Montreal police that morning. The Bennis family has been met with disrespect and disdain on the part of government bodies in their multiple attempts to ascertain very basic truths of what happened that morning when their beloved son and brother died. A troubling veil of secrecy continues to cloud the circumstances surrounding Anas' death.

In June 2008, Quebec's chief coroner, Louise Nolet, announced that she had ordered a coroner's inquiry into Anas' death. Although this was not a full, independent and public inquiry as the Justice for Anas Coalition has been demanding since its formation in January 2007, it was nevertheless an important, albeit partial, victory. The decision to order the coroner's inquiry surely came as a result of the public pressure campaign led by the Justice for Anas Coalition, whose three demands have been endorsed by more than 30 organisations, over the past 2 years. However, in August 2008, the Montreal Police Brotherhood filed a legal action suing the Bennis family and coroner Catherine Rudel-Tessier – who was to preside over the coroner's inquiry – with the goal of having the coroner's inquiry cancelled. The Bennis family has already filed a motion to have the Brotherhood's lawsuit dismissed, but it is imperative that the Brotherhood as well as municipal and provincial governments are reminded that the public support for the Justice for Anas campaign remains strong, and that the Brotherhood's attempts at preventing the truth from coming out will not go unchallenged. If the police have nothing to hide, why not simply allow the coroner's inquiry to proceed?

Together, on December 1, 2008, let us commemorate the life of Anas, and send a clear message to the Montreal Police Brotherhood that we will not rest until they cease their attempts at obstructing justice – in this case, by blocking the coroner's inquiry from proceeding. Let us also continue to pressure the Minister of Public Security and of Justice, Jacques Dupuis, to order a full, independent and public inquiry into the death of Anas Bennis. Please come out in large numbers to support the demands of the Justice for Anas Coalition.


The Justice for Anas Coalition's demands are the following:

1. The immediate release of all reports, evidence and information concerning the death of Anas Bennis to the Bennis family and to the public;

2. A full, public and independent inquiry into the death of Anas Bennis;

3. An end to police brutality and impunity

Justice for Anas Coalition

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