A government lawyer is making a last-minute plea to delay the Federal Court hearing of a long-simmering lawsuit from a Montreal man over Canada’s role in his detention in Sudan. Abousfian Abdelrazik, a Canadian citizen who was detained and tortured in Sudan, speaks during a press conference on developments in his civil court case against the federal government, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Abdelrazik torture lawsuit delay would be unconscionable: lawyer

The federal government is making a last-minute plea to delay the Federal Court hearing

The federal government is making a last-minute plea to delay the Federal Court hearing of a long-simmering lawsuit from a Montreal man over Canada’s role in his detention in Sudan.

The case was set to begin Monday, nine years after Abousfian Abdelrazik filed the suit against the federal government to win an apology and compensation for his ordeal.

Last week, the Justice Department advised Abdelrazik’s lawyer that the government would seek an adjournment of the civil trial to review the thousands of pages of evidence disclosed to date.

Federal lawyer Sandy Graham told the court Monday that the passage of time means the documents must be given a second look to ensure the most complete record possible is available for trial.

The documentation needs to be “defined and refined” to ensure there are no inconsistencies, which means putting the trial on hold, he said.

Graham could not tell Justice Martine St-Louis how long it would take to complete the review under provisions of the Canada Evidence Act.

RELATED: Several parliamentarians to testify in man’s lawsuit over detention in Sudan

Abdelrazik’s lawyer, Paul Champ, said postponing the trial would be “an unconscionable waste of court resources,” given that out-of-town witnesses have made arrangements to testify.

St-Louis is expected to rule soon on whether to grant the delay.

Abdelrazik, 56, was arrested during a 2003 visit to Sudan to see family. He was interrogated in custody by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service about suspected extremist links.

Abdelrazik, a Canadian citizen who denies any involvement in terrorism, also says he was tortured by Sudanese intelligence officials. Federal officials maintain they knew nothing of the alleged abuse.

In 2009, a Federal Court judge concluded CSIS was “complicit” in Abdelrazik’s detention. The judge also found that, by mid-2004, Canadian authorities had determined they would not take any active steps to assist Abdelrazik’s return to Canada, and would consider refusing him a passport in order to thwart his homecoming.

The federal government has provided apologies and compensation to other Canadians — including Toronto-born Omar Khadr — for the government’s role in their detention abroad, but earlier this year, officials abruptly cancelled mediation talks with Abdelrazik.

Champ played down government suggestions that he had objected to the federal effort to review the many memos, emails and other documents that will come up at trial.

Champ said while he had raised some questions about the process, he wasn’t pushing the government to release more information or taking issue with portions that have been blacked out.

Abdelrazik has been waiting long enough and simply wants to get on with the case, Champ said.

In addition, one key witness, Sen. Mobina Jaffer — who visited Abdelrazik in Sudan — is slated to undergo cancer treatment later this month, complicating scheduling efforts.

Champ fears the review process, if allowed to proceed, could drag on for years.

“They’ve had nine years to do it,” Champ told the judge Monday.

“This is about the administration of justice. This is about the integrity of court proceedings.”

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Universal childcare prototype off to a good start

Kelowna’s Little Scholars seeing positive results from B.C government’s $10-a-day project

Kelowna raises $177,000 for BC Cancer Foundation

Luncheon supports patient and family emergency services for Southern Interior B.C. residents

Kelowna’s definitive Christmas market list

We’ve prepared a list of every market in the Central Okanagan

Expert to speak on extinction of species and humanity’s peril in Kelowna

UBCO will host Conservation ecologist Corey Bradshaw Nov. 20

VIDEO: Stan Lee leaves posthumous message for his fans

Marvel Comics’ co-creator died on Monday at the age of 95

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Saskatchewan college honours memory of Humboldt Broncos coach

Darcy Haugan wore jersey No. 22 when he was a star player with the Briercrest College Clippers

Liberals to act quickly if Saturday midnight deal deadline breached: source

Oh Friday, Canadian Union of Postal Workers said it would not bring the latest offers to a vote of its members

Police probe several allegations of sex assault at Toronto school

Police say they have learned of other incidents of alleged assault and sexual assault

B.C. referendum ballot count jumps to 18% returned, Elections B.C. says

New count adds ballots received, but not screened for authenticity

Dead killer whale discovered on Nootka Island

“This is very concerning to our people.”

VIDEO: Protected bighorn sheep killed in B.C. Interior

The sheep are considered a species of concern because of their low population in B.C.

VIDEO: The definition of a kilogram has officially changed

50-plus countries voted to a ground-breaking overhaul to the international system of measurements

Most Read