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Court of Appeal upholds Edmonton man’s extradition to U.S. to face terrorism charges

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EDMONTON — The Alberta Court of Appeal has upheld an extradition order for a man facing terrorism charges in the United States.

Abdullahi Ahmed Abdullahi, 34, has been charged in the U.S. with conspiring to provide and providing material support to terrorists engaged in violent activities in Syria.

He was ordered extradited by Court of Queen’s Bench Justice John Little in May 2018.

Three Appeal Court justices — Barbara Lea Veldhuis, Jo’Anne Strekaf and Dawn Pentelechuk — heard Abdullahi’s challenge of the extradition order last Wednesday.

“Mr. Abdullahi raises the same arguments on appeal as raised before the extradition judge,” they wrote in a decision released Tuesday.

The arguments included “the deliberately vague” record of the case and a belief that some of the information comes from witnesses who are no longer alive.

“In our view, Mr. Abdullahi’s appeal is grounded in the erroneous suggestion that the evidence … would not meet the evidentiary standards of a Canadian criminal trial,” they wrote. “This is not the test.”

They said the extradition judge was correct to conclude that the evidence was reliable and available for trial.

Abdullahi could still seek leave to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court before he is deported to the U.S.

His lawyer, Akram Attia, could not be reached for comment.

American officials allege Abdullahi conspired with Douglas McCain, the first known American who died fighting for the Islamic State, and others in the U.S. and Canada.

Abdullahi, also known as Phish or Fish, was indicted in California in March 2017 and arrested by Canadian authorities in September 2017.

The U.S. indictment alleges that Abdullahi conspired with McCain and others to provide personnel and money to people in Syria engaged in terrorist activities, including killing, kidnapping and maiming people.

It also alleges Abdullahi robbed an Edmonton jewelry store to finance the travel of McCain and others, then wired the money.

Abdullahi also faces an armed robbery charge in Canada.

Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press


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Chief military judge’s court martial in limbo after deputy recuses himself

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OTTAWA — The court martial for Canada’s chief military judge is in limbo after the judge overseeing the trial, who happens to be deputy to the accused, agreed not to hear the case over conflict-of-interest concerns.

Lt.-Col. Louis-Vincent d’Auteuil also outlined the reasons why he felt the military’s other three sitting judges would not be able to preside over Col. Mario Dutil’s trial in an impartial manner.

That has left the fate of Dutil’s court martial, seen by some as a critical test for the military-justice system, up in the air.

Dutil was charged with eight counts in relation to allegations he had an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate and knowingly signed a travel claim for $927.60 that contained false information.

Four of the charges were dropped at the start of the court martial last week, where Dutil’s lawyer challenged d’Auteuil’s impartiality and asked the presiding judge to recuse himself. A publication ban on details of that portion of the hearing has since been lifted.

In agreeing to the request, d’Auteuil said it was reasonable to believe he would be biased because of his relationship to several witnesses — which he believed also applied to other military judges.

The Canadian Press

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Lighthizer agrees to do whatever it takes to get new NAFTA passed

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OTTAWA — U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer says he will work with Democrats to do whatever it takes to ratify the new North American free trade deal.

Lighthizer made the pledge in testimony today before the U.S. Senate finance committee as part of the Trump administration’s push to get the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement ratified by a divided Congress.

Lighthizer’s appearance on Capitol Hill comes two days before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets President Donald Trump at the White House to give impetus towards ratifying the deal.

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, the ranking Democrat on the committee, says the new deal has “weak enforcement” provisions on raising labour standards in Mexico that he and his party want to fix.

Lighthizer says USMCA has stronger enforcement provisions than the old North American Free Trade Agreement, including improved labour rights in Mexico, but he’s open to making it stronger.

Lighthizer says he has had good discussions with Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and suggests that getting a ratification bill introduced in the lower house of Congress — a necessary first step towards U.S. ratification of the pact — might be weeks away.

The Canadian Press

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