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Conservatives trying to avoid another Maher Arar payout

You might remember Abousfian Abdelrazik, a Canadian citizen who was detained in Sudan on terrorism suspicions, who was then released by the Sudanese when they could find no basis for the charge. The Harper government then tried to keep him out of Canada, claiming he was dangerous (but doing so while they allowed him to take refuge in the Canadian Embassy). A judge would have none of it, and forced the government to allow him to return home. Mr. Abdelrazik understandably decided to sue the government – in this case, 27 million $ for his (mis)treatment. The Conservative government has decided to dig in and claim they owe Mr. Abdelrazik not a penny:

The government admits that Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon’s “denial of an emergency passport” violated Mr. Abdelrazik’s Charter right “to enter Canada,” but denies Mr. Cannon “breached the plaintiffs charter right knowingly and in bad faith.” The government’s 34-page statement of defence in Mr. Abdelrazik’s case doesn’t explain how agents from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service knew before anyone else in the Canadian government that Mr. Abdelrazik was in prison in Khartoum, or how CSIS agents came to interrogate him in a Sudanese jail while Canadian consular officers were denied access.

Another Canadian, Maher Arar who was also mistreated overseas, did the same thing in suing, but the Liberal government of the day went ahead and had a judicial inquiry to investigate what happened. That inquiry eventually exonerated Arar, leading to the Conservative government settling with Arar for 10 million dollars. It COULD have set up a similar judicial inquiry to look at Abousfian Abdelrazik’s mistreatment and his claims of torture in Sudanese jails, as well as rights violations by Canadian officials.. but apparently that’s too much for this reactionary bunch in government to swallow. It appears they fully intend to redact and withhold evidence from CSIS (on the grounds of “national security”) so that their actions aren’t exposed.

I hope Abdelrazik prevails in the judicial system, and he takes the government to the cleaners. Alternately, I hope a new government that replaces the Conservatives will at a minimum set up a Maher Arar-type inquiry to sort things out. If it finds he was wrongly treated, that government should also do an Arar-like settlement.

23 comments to Conservatives trying to avoid another Maher Arar payout

  • Gayle

    Actually, I would not get too worked up over this. They have to file a statement of defence within a particular time period, and no lawyer in the world is going to admit any liability in a statement of defence. That does not mean the government will not negotiate a settlement. I would be very surprised if they do not do so.

  • kwittet

    Scott..i do hope they get to the bottom of what happened also as it stinks. Hoping he takes the govt to the cleaner is BS..that is out tax dollars going out the window. I am not saying he doesn’t deserve some compensation but there has to be a limit on what is paid out no matter what the circumstances.

  • kwittet

    Not a good deal at all for all of us..wasted money that should have never been paid.

    In other news which I am shocked Scott hasn’t commented on yet but for a while was one of his pet squawks is Kahder.

    For someone who has all along insisted he is innocent, has suddenly has a change of heart and is now pleading guilty to all charges and has copped a crappy 8 year term (50 years would be best). I don’t know about the rest of you but like Steven Truscott and Guy Paul Morin who took the system on, failed and were then exonerated later on, I would think that Omar, if he really thought he was innocent would take his chances. He knows he is guilty so this should be the end of this. The one thing that really pisses me off about this is that he is going to spend 7 years in a Canadian penitentiary paid for by the taxpayers of Canada for crimes that were committed in another country. He should serve his term in the US who tried him or in Afghanistan were he committed his crimes. Why do we have to pay for this which if he is given the special treatment like Bernardo should cost us about $150,000 a year!!!

    I will admit that the Harper government should have forced this issue a long time ago and for that they failed. Shame on them!!

    • Redrum

      @kwittet, no, you don’t know about or speak for the rest of us. Accepting a plea bargain rather than face an almost sure lifetime sentence in a kangaroo court hardly shows he’s guilty (of it being a crime, rather than an act of war — if it was him who shot the US soldier they were besieged by — by, ahem, a child soldier, whose confessions were extracted through torture), and it doesn’t reflect well on you for not seeing that.

      • kwittet

        @Redrum, Thats your opinion..if i was innocent then i would never..never admitt guilt. He is not nor ever was a child soldier. Soldiers wear uniforms you really must read the definition of soldier then you would still say he was.

        • Redrum

          @kwittet, well, then, if he’s not a soldier (nor a commander), then they’ve got no business charging him with WAR crimes in a MILITARY court, then, do they. And it’s easy for you to say from the comfort of your home that you’d never confess to something you were innocent of, but how about if you’d already spent 8 years in prisons and were looking at spending decades more? I put no stock at all in your judgment… but do in former Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire’s, who has spoken out on this as a travesty of justice… and who agrees he was a child soldier, btw.

          www + .theglobeandmail.com/news/national/child-soldier-khadr-needs-protection-dallaire-says/article685315/

          http + ://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2008/05/22/rom-233-o-dallaire-bring-omar-khadr-home.aspx

        • Redrum

          @kwittet, BTW, before advancing such childish arguments (you can’t be a soldier without a uniform? puh-leeze), you really should read the df. of “child soldier,” which UNICEF (you know, the UN org) defines thus:

          “A child soldier is any person under 18 years of age who is part of any kind of regular or irregular armed force or armed group in any capacity, including but not limited to cooks, porters, messengers and anyone accompanying such groups, other than family members. The definition includes girls recruited for sexual purposes and for forced marriage. It does not, therefore, only refer to a child who is carrying or has carried arms.”

          — where “irregular” forces can be revolutionary bands — you know, like the US’s own militiamen — who don’t have any uniforms. Twit.

          http + ://childsoldierrelief.org/2008/07/22/official-definition-of-a-child-soldier-from-cape-town-principles/

          www + .unicef.org/emerg/index_childsoldiers.html

          http + ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irregular_military

        • kwittet

          @kwittet, First, Its please. Second. I think the UN is a joke. But if we are going to quote them here is what I found on the Un definition of child soldiers. Third, If I was innocent then I would follow through the system rather than admit guilt. You are speculating on decades more. I have to be a bit sarcastic here but yes if Romeo says he is and you say he is then..HE MUST BE!!

          The UN laws were written in order to protect the innocent civilians who get in the way of a war first, then the protection of legitimate soldiers second. And, they are very clear on who is and who is not a ‘soldier’

          ‘To qualify under the Third Geneva Convention, a combatant must have conducted military operations according to the laws and customs of war, be part of a chain of command, wear a “fixed distinctive marking, visible from a distance” and bear arms openly.’

          Omar Khadr, unfortunately, does not satisfy these qualifications.

          Not only was he not a part of a recognized military ‘chain of command’, and not wearing any ‘badges’ or ‘distinctive markings’ that could, even remotely, be construed as ‘uniform’ or ‘fixed distinctive marking’: the crime he is accused of having committed is against the laws and customs of war.

          Omar Khadr was fighting with the Taliban which is a terrorist organization. Calling them anything else is just ludicrous. I f you care so much about these child combatants no matter where they are from then why not stand up for the other so called child soldiers whether Canadian or not? I know it is hard to try to make political points about them and that is what this is all about. If he was killed in that gunfight we would have heard a little snippit on the news and that would have been the end of it.

          We can go into a pissing match for a long time about this because different people believe different things. I have mine you have yours..fair enough. I was man enough to admitt that Harpo should have forced this issue long ago and for that he should be held accountable at the very least.

          You failed to comment on whether you think it is right whether he serves time here? Do you think it is fair for Canadians to pay for a crime that was committed elsewhere?

          Here is an example and I am sure Scott will know who this is. . When I owned my computer business I had a very successful client right here in my home town. William (Bill) Krygsman. This man revolutionized the railroad business by developing polymer railroad ties and developing a automated machine to produce them. He then sold his invention to a company in Texas for 10’s of millions of dollars. I worked helped went out and had many casual drinks with this man many times. I called him a friend as well as my wife . He was leading a secret second life as a pedophile. He was caught in a sting operation involving the RCMP and the FBI and was arrested in Georgia where he is currently serving a 9 year sentence for luring young girls. He is a Canadian citizen. Do you think that the government at the time should have lobbied to have him returned to Canada to serve his sentence? I would think not.

        • Redrum

          @kwittet, he was there because his father (and mother) were radical extremists who’d indoctrinated his whole family since birth & had some of them training at Bin Laden’s camps when they were just 10. THat’s the whole point about his being a child soldier — they get molded before they get a chance to develop the capacity for independent thought and their own sense of morality.

          www + .guardian.co.uk/world/2010/aug/13/guantanamo-omar-khadr-bomb-torture

          www + .merip.org/mero/mero072610.html

      • Redrum

        @kwittet, sorry: at least the UN document I cited does use the actual term – “soldier” – but yours doesn’t, anywhere, so it can scarcely be invoked as a refutation.

        www + .icrc.org/ihl.nsf/7c4d08d9b287a42141256739003e63bb/6fef854a3517b75ac125641e004a9e68

        Granted, it _has_ been used to justify keeping them locked up in Gitmo indefinitely, since the 3rd Geneva Convention covers the treatments of POWs, and, as you say, the irregulars captured there don’t meet that definition of “combatant.” But that just means the Geneva Convention doesn’t nec’ly apply to them, not that they’re not soldiers, and at any rate, “child soldier” has a much looser standard than “soldier.”

        www + .un.org/works/goingon/soldiers/lessonplan_soldiers.html

        I’m no fan of his or his family or the Taliban ir Al Queda, but this whole case has stunk, from beginning to end, and I’m not at all convinced that it was even him who threw the grenade: there’s no witness, he was found blinded, under rubble, and one of the other combatants (or, sorry, ‘terrorists,’ trying to fend off a foreign army) was still alive when he was found. Plus of course he was wounded, tortured, and now coerced in all his confessions. But you go ahead and believe the US military & its kangaroo court that have been violating pretty much every Cndn & international law where he’s concerned (with the complicity of CSIS, unfortunately), if it makes you happy.

        http: + //ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=50264

        www + .globalnews.ca/story.html?id=1527151

        www + .hrw.org/en/news/2010/10/15/qa-omar-khadr-trial

        www + .cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/01/29/omar-khadr-supreme-court.html

        • kwittet

          @Redrum, Were you in the room when he was coerced into his confession? You are speculating again. I never once said this didn’t stink. It stinks the high heavens. I wasn’t there and the only ones who know who threw that grenade are Omar himself. You say you aren’t convinced which to me leaves some doubt in your mind that you are just not sure whether he did or not. So if we are going to go on assumptions then if he did throw it do you think he would admit it? I wouldn’t. If he didn’t then why in hell would he say he did? I don’t agree that he has been kept there for this long without some intervention from the government. I believe you that you are no fan of him or his family. Scott said a long time ago that if Omar was rehab,d he would take him in(remember Scott?) Remember it was Afghanistan that asked the UN(joke) for help to get rid of Al Queda and the Taliban. Its not whether I believe the US court or not. They have different laws than us. It doesn’t matter a dam whether they are violating any Canadian laws or not. This case has US jurisdiction or is it Afghanistan? Either or its not a Canadian case. It just happens to be a Canadian involved.

        • Redrum

          @kwittet, btw, as the former commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission in our dirtiest, losingest, most child-soldier involved war ever – Rwanda – I’ve no doubt that Romeo Dallaire knows full well what the international def. of a “child soldier” is, and its he who’s been most vocal about what a fundamental mistake the US prosecution & our complicity in it are, and, sorry, but he has 1,000 times more credibility on this issue than you.

          www + .thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/849076–omar-khadr-trial-imperils-all-child-soldiers

          As for my uncertainty whether Khadr actually threw the grenade — that’s (part of) the point: first, there’s more than a reasonable doubt whether he did throw it; second, even if he did, it was in a fire-fight, in an armed conflict, so it should be regarded as self-defense (as a simple act of war), not as murder, terrorism, or a war crime; third, since he was only 15 at the time, he shouldn’t be regarded as criminally responsible, given the international treaties in place (for everybody but the ‘we’re above the law’ Americans) about child soldiers; and finally, his rights were violated in extracting the confessions. I.e., it’s over-determined: there are four good reasons he’d never be convicted if he were given a fair trial on this, in anything but a US military court that has no jurisdiction. This is a total travesty, and it’s happening to a Canadian, and you & the Harperites have just washed your hands of it. Some lovers of freedom and democracy.

        • kwittet

          @Redrum, I will admit that you make a lot of very good points. So why then is he pleading guilty if there is so much reasonable doubt? He should be standing his ground that he is innocent.

          Obviously you have missed every time I have posted that Harper has not done enough to rectify this situation. So in this case I am NO…NO fan of how he and his people have handled this.

          Why do we blame others for our own actions or in this case Omars. He was there. So what if he was 15 at the time. Its called personal responsibility.

          Why is it that kids in our own country are convicted of crimes every day? Should kids just walk free to commit any crime they want because they are under 16 and not responsible.

          your link is an opinion only.

        • Redrum

          @kwittet, I answer why wasw he there above. As for why plead guilty rather than take his chances? Maybe cuz he’s been ground down, he’s tired of being in jail, he’s sickly (was shot twice in the back, and still has shrapnel in his chest, and is partially blind, from the bombed out building), and he wants to have some chance of a life — and the ones offering the plea bargain are probably scaring the bejesus of him by pointing out that most of the evidence & lines of argument that would get him off in a civilian court have been excluded in this jerry-rigged military one. It’s the news reports that have been saying he’ll most likely get a lifetime or decades more sentence if it keeps proceeding to trial.

      • Redrum

        @kwittet, was I in the room? obviously not. But The Supreme Court of Canada heard & saw the evidence and ruled, among other things,

        “that Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was breached in Omar Khadr’s case, as Canadian officials contributed to the violation of his rights to life, liberty and security of the person.

        It noted that CSIS officials obtained evidence from Khadr under “oppressive circumstances” during interrogations at Guantanamo Bay in 2003 and then shared that evidence with U.S. officials. The ruling said the interrogation “offends the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth suspects,” as:

        * Khadr was a minor and had been denied adult counsel.
        * He had been repeatedly deprived of sleep over a three-week period using a technique designed to make detainees more compliant.
        * The interrogation was designed to elicit statements about “the most serious criminal charges.”
        * The information was to be shared with U.S. prosecutors.

        The court agreed that Khadr’s rights continue to be violated given the role of the information in his upcoming trial.”

        www + .cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/01/29/omar-khadr-supreme-court.html#ixzz12ZUCSjoL

        So you don’t think Cndns should be repatriated if they get arrested abroad? Well, bully for you — then Harper’s your man.

        But have you ever seen ‘Midnight Express’? You don’t care what the treatment or prison conditions are like? And you don’t care whether they follow due process… or whether they’re actually innocent? So we’re just fair game for any corrupt regime to pin any ‘ol charge on us, as long as they have jurisdiction, if we’re foolish to leave our shores? I don’t.

        • Redrum

          @To Whom It May Concern, btw, I’ve since found a discussant
          who’s followed this more carefully than I

          (Diane, at http + ://www2.macleans.ca/2010/10/14/is-omar-khadr-coming-back-to-canada/

          who linked to a newly published study by a US law prof. which convincingly argues that…

          (even tho’ it’ll probably get convictions given the way they jerry-rig the evidence & rule things out of order),

          — quite apart from the whole child soldier thing (and his awful upbringing, brainwashing him & drawing him into Bin Laden’s camp at age 11 www + .canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=37b20359-ad77-487f-a6a7-89c0ad9daad8 ),

          and even if he actually did everything he was accused of, & even if we ignore the fact that the confessions were extracted under coercion (incl. threats of gang rape:
          www + .rawa.org/temp/runews/2010/05/06/rape-threats-used-to-scare-detainees-into-confessing.html) —

          …the US Military Court really doesn’t have a leg to stand on under international military law
          in bringing all these charges forward against Khadr.

          It boils down to enemy soldiers being fair game in a firefight, and not being able to charge the current geurrilla fighters retroactively for their side’s past actions, or their own past spying (gotta be caught in the act), once the war (which the US declared, as the result of, um, the actions of the non-uniformed 9/11 terrorists) is underway, and, sorry, even making targetted IED’s isn’t a war crime any more than planting mines is (esp. since the US didn’t sign that land mine treaty!).
          (can be downloaded from top left link at:
          http + ://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1669946

          ‘course, if the Afghani gov’t itself wanted to charge _both_ the foreign Taliban insurgents AND the American cowboys (incl. some non-uniformed CIA operatives) involved in that illegal firefight on their soil in 2002 (remember, this was in 2002, before the Afghans asked the international community to intercede) for CIVIL infractions (shooting at & blowing one another up, on their soil), that’s another matter, but that’s not what’s happening here.

  • EFL

    If you feel angry and ill, you are righteous, like Tribe.

    • EMAD

      Yah, EFL. We get it. You are just angry. And right. never righteous, eh?

      • Redrum

        @EMAD, I think you may be misunderstanding EFL: “righteous” isn’t necessarily a pejorative term (just “self-..” is), and most of EFL’s own posts indeed fit that bill of “arising from an outraged sense of justice or morality,” incl. his current one on this very issue, so I think he was signalling strong agreement here, not criticism. (unlike you)

        http + ://liberalsonline.feedcluster.com/do/goto?pid=3994926467945276526

  • Redrum

    These Reformers believe any accusation of “terrorism,” no matter how corrupt the source, and think “Due Process” is a dirty word — particularly where foreign-sounding names are concerned. They’re a disgrace. If they had more power & the opportunity, Guantanamo Bay would be stuffed to the gills in perpetuity (except they’d put it in the Arctic “to assert our sovereignty”).

  • Given their ludicrous interpretations of the UN no-fly list regulations, it’s obvious that they were dealing with Abdelrazik in bad faith.

  • You’d think the obvious way to avoid these kind of payouts, respecting the rights of all Canadians, regardless of colour or ethnicity, would have occurred to them by now.

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