Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Canada Collaborates With Torturers

Canada is supposed to be a country that protects and defends human rights, well, it just failed to live up to that status. As it happens, Canada just delivered a Basque citizen to a government known around the world for its widespread practice of torture.

This note comes to us via Yahoo News:

Suspected Basque terrorist has been deported to Spain from Vcr

Tue Jun 17, 2:34 PM

By The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER - A man accused of being a Basque terrorist has been deported from Canada to Spain, where he faces trial for attempted murder and his alleged role in a bombing campaign.

Canada Border Services Agency confirms Victor Tejedor Bilbao was put on a plane in Vancouver and sent back to Spain on Monday.

"The government takes its obligation to safeguard public safety very seriously and will take all necessary measures to ensure Canadians are protected. Canada's doors are not open to those who break the law and endanger the safety of our citizens," the agency said in a statement released Tuesday announcing the deportation.

Agency spokeswoman Faith St. John said no further details would be released.

Late last year, 51-year-old Bilbao was ordered deported by the Immigration and Refugee Board after it ruled he had been a member of the Basque terrorist organization ETA and had engaged in terrorism in 1981.

Spanish authorities accuse Bilbao of taking part in the bombing of power stations and the attempted murder of a Spanish journalist considered a "squealer" by ETA. Two of his co-accused have been sentenced to 17 years in prison in Spain.

Bilbao was arrested in June 2007 in Vancouver, 11 years after arriving in Canada and beginning a new life under an assumed name.

Bilbao tried to claim refugee status in Canada after his arrest, arguing that he was a member of the Basque political group Herri Batasuna nearly 30 years ago but, to his knowledge, it wasn't a front for the Basque terrorist groups.

The Immigration and Refugee Board denied his claim and ordered Bilbao deported last November.

A lawyer for Canada Border Services had argued that Bilbao was considered to be a flight risk, saying Bilbao confessed in 1988 that leaders of ETA had ordered the hit on the reporter.

But Bilbao later recanted and said he made a false confession because he was tortured.

His lawyer Phil Rankin fought the extradition, warning his client faced the risk of torture or death at the hands of Spanish police.

Rankin cited an Amnesty International report stating Spain cannot control the police treatment of prisoners - particularly Basques - but the board disagreed and ordered the accused terrorist returned to face Spanish justice.

Agency lawyer Jesse Davidson told an earlier hearing that there was no finding by the court system that Bilbao was ever tortured.

The Immigration and Refugee Board has also ordered the deportation of Ivan Apaolaza Sancho, who was arrested on board a Quebec City ferry last summer.

Sancho, who is wanted by Spain in connection with a series of car bombings tied to ETA, had been living in Canada since 2001 under false aliases and forged documents. Sancho initially lived in the Vancouver area, rooming with Bilbao, and moved to Montreal in late 2006.

He, too, says he will be tortured if returned to Spain and his lawyer is appealing the board decision.

Sancho has admitted to being part of the Basque nationalist movement but has denied ever supporting ETA.

I'm sure that wherever he is, Francisco Franco is proud of Jesse Davidson.

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