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Toronto Sun, November 26, 2009
Tom Godfrey, Sun Media

A hairstylist who claims she’ll be the victim of an honour killing by her ex-husband if deported is still receiving threats from him even though he’s in Pakistan, according to documents filed in court.

Roohi Tabassum, 44, of Brampton, last week won an appeal to have her case reviewed by immigration officials. Her deportation has been put on hold pending the outcome of the appeal.

In letters presented in court, her ex-husband, Faisal Javed vowed “to finish” her off because she left him and came to Canada and works as a hairstylist touching men’s hair. He is also outraged that she may have a boyfriend, which she denies.

“I just want this to be over with and to go on with my life,” she said yesterday. “The threats against me are still there but I am more careful now,” Tabassum said.

“I came here because Canada is the safest country,” she said. “But even here I feel afraid of my ex-husband.”

Tabassum was smuggled into Canada from the U.S. in 2001 and filed a failed refugee claim. She faces removal to the U.S., then to Pakistan.

Justice Michael Kelen in a federal court decision last week cited a U.S. state department report that stated up to 1,500 women were killed in honour killings in Pakistan.

“Honour killings continue to be a problem, with women as the principal victims,” the report said.

Court heard “honour killings’ are rarely acted upon in Pakistan as police and judges view it as a family problem.”

“I am extremely optimistic because of the country situation report on Pakistan,” said Tabasssum’s lawyer, Max Berger. “Clearly her husband has threatened to kill her. This is a very significant case.”

No date has been set for a review of the case that last April caught the attention of Sun readers and those who saw her video on torontosun.com.


Max Berger is a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba and was educated at the University of Manitoba and York University. Mr. Berger is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Canada. He has represented immigration clients from all corners of the world and in every area of immigration law.

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