BC prisoner went to human rights tribunal to wear 'Nike Airs' | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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BC prisoner went to human rights tribunal to wear 'Nike Airs'

Two men serving time in B.C. prisons tried to use the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal to force their jailers to provide special accommodations, with various results.

Daniel Smith tried to force Okanagan Correctional Centre to let him wear his "Nike Airs." He made the same argument when he was imprisoned in 2019 and offered a note from a foot clinic. He was denied but when he was back in the Oliver prison in 2024, he tried the same argument, in part because “he experienced pain when he was prevented the use of orthotic inserts and his own shoes,” according to a recently published tribunal decision.

With nothing else to further his argument, he was denied again.

Nathan Khan, however, had a more pressing concern. He said he was being denied a Halal diet, a prayer cap and was unable to pray five times per day at Ford Mountain Correctional Centre in Chilliwack.

In another recently published decision, his main concerns were disputed by the prison.

B.C.’s Solicitor-General, in charge of prisons, said Khan had to be served vegetarian meals and no-pork diet until the Halal meals were arranged. They also said his work schedule was rearranged to allow him prayers. But the prison did deny him a kufi, an Islamic head covering, because it is “not a required religious object for Muslim faith practice.”

He said he also heard a number of racist statements from both other inmates and guards.

The Solicitor-General asked the tribunal to dismiss the case because it had no prospect of success but was denied.

Tribunal member Robin Dean said there may be evidence of discrimination but could not determine the case without a proper hearing. His complaint will proceed to a hearing.

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