Lawyer for Canadian detained in Sudan balks at proposed delay in court action
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
OTTAWA -- Advocates for a Montreal man who is suing the federal government over his detention and treatment in Sudan are crying foul over what they are calling a new, unjustified delay in the case.
Lawyer Paul Champ says the Justice Department will ask a Federal Court judge on Monday to indefinitely adjourn the civil trial launched by Abousfian Abdelrazik while it seeks a review by another court of the evidence disclosed in the case so far.
Abdelrazik is suing the Canadian government for an apology and compensation over his lengthy overseas detention, claiming that he was tortured by Sudanese intelligence officials.
Champ says the adjournment request could result in a further delay of the trial for months or even years in what has already been a long-running case.
Ten weeks of proceedings in the case were to get underway on Monday and Champ said flights and hotels for witnesses from overseas had already been booked.
Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada, calls the move a violation of Canada's international human rights obligations.
Abdelrazik, 56, became a Canadian citizen in 1995, five years after he arrived in Canada from Africa as a refugee.
He was arrested during a 2003 visit to Sudan to see family. In custody, Abdelrazik was interrogated by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service about suspected extremist links. He says he was tortured by Sudanese intelligence officials during two periods of detention.
Abdelrazik denies any involvement in terrorism and Canada has said it knew nothing of his purported abuse.