Prime Time Crime


(Published in the Chilliwack Times week of May 5, 2008)

Putting Canadians at risk


  By John Martin

Like a bad movie that never ends, a gutless refugee system has yet again chosen the comfort and well being of a career criminal over the safety of the countryís law-abiding citizens. The latest installment in this ongoing disgrace features Alex Ishmail Murwanashyaka, a failed refugee claimant from Rwanda who is accused of a violent home invasion in which a Surrey woman was attacked with a machete.

It turns out this piece of work had already been ordered deported but was allowed to remain in the country on account of outstanding charges involving the sexual assault of two minors back in 2005.

Thatís correct. The more outstanding charges a bogus refugee racks up - the longer he can stay here.

But rather than keep Murwanashyaka in custody awaiting trial, he was given free reign to accumulate more victims, and thatís precisely what heís accused of doing.

He allegedly broke into a home on April 1 and tied up a woman and her nine year old daughter before making off with a lousy $15, an ATM card and the victimís car. Oh yes, and just for good measure the assailant slashed her with a machete.

Itís not like this came out of the blue. Weíre talking about a walking menace who has already been twice convicted for assaulting police officers. In addition, he has a record for assault, possession of a dangerous weapon and no less than five counts of drug possession for the purpose of trafficking. This type of incident happens over and over again and the authorities continually shrug it off as though thereís nothing that can be done about it.

According to Immigration and Refugee Board member Shaw Dyck, Murwanashyaka was "a nuisance and very annoying" but hardly deserved to be kept in custody. Is this clown for real? Of course Murwanashyaka will remain in Canada for years to come as his publicly funded legal team exhaust one level of appeal after another. Then there will be the usual request to quash the deportation order on humanitarian grounds, which should drag on for another couple years.

But regardless of what happens with the legalities, it looks like weíre stuck with this loser for the long-term. Due to human rights and security issues in Rwanda, Canadian authorities have suspended deportations to that country.

This isnít a one-off; itís part of a pattern that should outrage Canadians. More recently, Jose Franciso Cardoza Quinteros , a self-described refugee from El Salvador who admits to killing at least four rival gangsters, was declared not dangerous enough to be held pending his deportation.

The adjudicator, Shaw Dyck once again, had doubts about the accuracy of Quinteross claims and ordered him released. Mercifully, the federal government successfully appealed this ruling to the Federal Court of Canada and Quinteros will be held in custody until his deportation hearing. His lawyer is arguing that his client should be allowed to stay in Canada because rival gang members would likely kill him upon his return to El Salvador. So, like the aforementioned Murwanashyaka, the smart money says weíre stuck with him.

Canadaís refugee system has long been overly generous to a fault and has a legacy of refusing to distinguish between bona fide refugees and career criminals who see this country for the soft touch it is.

Something is drastically wrong when Canadian authorities knowingly put their own citizens at risk on account of what unrepentant serial criminals might face back home.

John Martin is a Criminologist at the University College of the Fraser Valley and can be contacted at


Prime Time Crime

Contributing 2008