MCA files suit with CBSA, alleges wrongful imprisonment

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CORNWALL, Ontario - The Canada Border Services Agency has been slapped with a lawsuit after an Akwesasne woman complained of being wrongfully held at the Cornwall border crossing.

The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne filed the suit on behalf of Sarahlee Skidders, who alleged she was unlawfully held by CBSA officers on Dec. 30, 2011.

The MCA made several accusations in a release issued Wednesday - even making the suggestion that Skidders was threatened with criminal charges if her boyfriend did not present himself to border officers in relation to a separate incident.

"Over the course of several hours Ms. Skidders was repeatedly questions about this individual, the vehicle accident that left her (paralyzed), threatened with additional charges if she did not co-operate and was told she would be removed from her wheelchair if she attempted to leave," reads the release from the MCA. "At one point a heavy chair was placed in front of her wheelchair to prevent her from leaving."

The MCA said Skidders was provided with water, after a lengthy wait, but no food during the incident which lasted five hours and ended when her boyfriend presented himself at the border.

"MCA receives many complaints in regard to mistreatment of community members by CBSA officers at the Cornwall Portof-Entry,” said Akwesasne Grand Chief Mike Mitchell. Most are deplorable, but this incident is particularly reprehensible.

The accusations have not been proven in court, and the CBSA has not provided a public response to date.

The claim was served on the defendants – the CBSA and five CBSA officers - on Feb. 3.


More to come.

Organizations: Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, Canada Border Services Agency

Geographic location: CORNWALL, Ontario

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