Event: The Supreme Court’s Bissonnette Decision: Anti-Racist and Abolitionist Perspectives

*This event was hosted on unceded Algonquin territory. This stolen land must be returned to the care of the Algonquin Nation*

On May 27, the Supreme Court of Canada issued its ruling in the sentencing case of Quebec mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette. The Court found the imposition of consecutive life sentences without realistic possibility of parole unconstitutional. The ruling has elicited much analysis and discussion. Our panelists looked at this decision from anti-racist, abolitionist perspectives.


Atiya Husain

Atiya Husain is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University. Atiya’s current stream of research is about race and terrorism. Currently under review, Atiya’s book manuscript excavates the epistemological, racial, and theological foundations of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s most wanted program (1950-present). Other recent and forthcoming writings in this stream of research examine counterterrorism in relation to the abolition movement.

El Jones

El Jones is a spoken word poet, educator, journalist, and community activist living in African Nova Scotia. She is a co-founder of the Black Power Hour, a live radio show with incarcerated people on CKDU that creates space for people inside to share their creative work and discuss contemporary social and political issues. Her book of spoken word poetry, Live from the Afrikan Resistance! was published by Roseway Press in 2014. She has taught at Dalhousie University, Acadia University, Nova Scotia Community College, Saint Mary’s University and Mount Saint Vincent University. In 2021, Jones became a contributor to The Breach, an alternative, Canadian news website. Her work focuses on social justice issues such as feminism, prison abolition, anti-racism, and decolonization.

Kent Roach

Kent Roach is Professor of Law at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. He is the author of 16 books including Constitutional Remedies in Canada; (with Craig Forcese) False Security: The Radicalization of Canadian Anti-Terrorism and Canadian Justice, Indigenous Injustice: The Gerald Stanley/Colten Boushie Case. His 16th book Canadian Policing: Why and How it Must Change was published in 2022. Professor Roach has served as research director for the Commission of Inquiry into the Investigation of the Bombing of Air India Flight 182, for the Independent Civilian Review of Toronto Police Missing Persons Investigations and for the public consultations resulting in A Miscarriage of Justice Commission report.

Yavar Hameed

Yavar Hameed is a human rights lawyer at Hameed Law in Ottawa. Yavar worked for three years at a labour law firm focusing on trade union law, employment law and human rights. For the past twelve years, he has worked on important cases to help individuals and communities to resist injustice such as discrimination on the basis of poverty, police brutality, persecution of people on the basis of dissident political views, whistle blowing, racial profiling, deportation of migrants, Islamophobia, homophobia and abuse of prisoner rights. Since 2009, he has also taught a seminar course at Carleton University’s Department of Law and Legal Studies entitled, State, Security and Dissent, in which he continues to explore contemporary and historical human rights problems in Canada with a focus upon the importance of material and ideological persecution of dissent by the state.

Co-moderated by Azeezah Kanji, legal scholar and journalist, and Tim McSorley, National Coordinator, ICLMG.

This event is co-hosted by the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group and the Noor Cultural Centre.

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