Scientology critic free after serving four months; Former Brantford resident ordered to avoid negative contact with group

Brantford Expositor, Canada/March 6, 2008

It's been close to three years since Keith Henson left Brantford and ran for the border, just ahead of the authorities who wanted to deport him to the U.S.

The Scientology critic had lost his battle to stay in Canada.

He arrived in Canada in 2002 to avoid being jailed in the U.S. over his anti-Scientology activities, which included picketing various sites and posting some Scientology information on the Internet.

An engineer, Henson lived and worked in Brantford for three years.

When a deportation order was signed in 2005, he left for the border a day earlier than authorities planned - a move that caused him to forfeit his $10,000 bond.

Henson had earlier been convicted of criminal threats and, after his eventual arrest in Arizona, he was sent to California and given a six-month sentence.

After serving four months of that sentence - much of it in solitary confinement - Henson is a free man and newly in possession of a letter from Citizenship and Immigration Canada that assures him his application is still under consideration.

In fact, says the letter, the application for permanent residence in Canada - which Henson applied for on compassionate and humanitarian grounds - has been forwarded to Niagara Falls, where a single decision-maker will now assess it.

"I don't understand it," Henson said from his Arizona home this week.

"Canadian bureaucracy aside, three years seems like an unusual time."

Aside from the time it took to consider his plea, Henson said it's ironic that the same government that "decided to kick me out of the country" now says it's still deciding on his application.

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