Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Air India inquiry to mull special terror trials

The lawyer defending Maher Arar says she is alarmed that the Air India inquiry's mandate suggests Canada's justice system is not up to the task of prosecuting terrorists.
The Stephen Harper government has asked the Canadian judge heading the inquiry into the worst terrorist attack and mass murder in Canadian history to consider new ways to try terrorism suspects, The Globe and Mail reports.
According to the Air India commission's terms of reference, Justice John Major must examine "whether the unique challenges presented by the prosecution of terrorism cases ... are adequately addressed by existing practices or legislation, and, if not, the changes in practice or legislation that are required to address these challenges, including whether there is merit in having terrorism cases heard by a panel of three judges."
Criminal lawyer Marlys Edwardh says she's concerned by the implicit suggestions that Canada's current legal system isn't equipped to prosecute terrorists.
Edwardh, who represents Arar at a continuing inquiry into his deportation and torture in Syria, is writing to the Canadian Criminal Lawyers' Association and the Canadian Bar association about the language of the order-in-council that established the inquiry.
08/05/06 CTV.ca, Canada
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