Skip to comments.(Canadian) Prime Minister aided terror suspect
Posted on 10/11/2001 11:14:01 AM PDT by jerod
OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Jean Chretien went to bat five years ago for a Canadian reportedly wanted now by the FBI in connection with the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
Ahmed Khadr -- dubbed The Canadian -- is reported to be an FBI suspect in its probe of the suicide hijackings. He's also identified on a Canadian government Web site listing people and groups linked to Osama bin Laden.
The Office of the Superintendent for Financial Institutions, on its Web site, says all bank accounts related to Khadr and the seven aliases he uses should be frozen.
When Chretien went to Pakistan on a state visit in 1996, he pleaded the case for the Egyptian-born Khadr to get a fair trial for his role in a deadly bombing attack at the Egyptian Embassy in Pakistan the previous year.
The PM was not available to comment yesterday, but a PMO spokesman said Chretien merely made the case before then-prime minister Benazir Bhutto that "due process" be followed and Khadr be treated fairly.
"We always ensure due process. That's what we're about, right?" Francie Ducros said.
Ducros also provided Sun Media with transcripts of news conferences with Chretien at the time that suggest the PM was never made aware by Canadian police authorities of Khadr's alleged extremist background. Foreign Affairs Minister John Manley would only say yesterday that CSIS and the RCMP have exchanged information with their U.S. counterparts on Khadr's whereabouts.
"Our information, as we were advised as recently as this morning, is that he is not in Canada, but the last information is that he was in Afghanistan. That's about as much as I can say about it," Manley said.
Khadr was held for three months in Pakistan before being released in 1996. He was suspected of being the money man behind the embassy attack. Khadr told reporters from his Pakistani hospital bed at the time he was innocent and went on a hunger strike to protest his arrest.
A CSIS spokesman and the FBI were equally coy about Khadr's involvement and whether he is the same man being sought.
Manley said it's normal for the PM to use state visits to press the case of jailed Canadians.
Khadr worked for the Ottawa-based Human Concern International at the time of the 1995 bombing by Islamic militants, which killed 16 and injured 60.
Marc Duguay, a spokesman for HCI, which provides humanitarian relief to hotspots around the world, denied any terrorist connection.
He's the first PM of Canada who can't speak either official language.
Ahmed Khadr - a good Canadian name (end sarcasm).
Here's a list of great Canadian names:
Sir Frederick Grant Banting
Chief Dan George (born 'Geswanouth Slahoot')
Maurice "Rocket" Richard
Henri "Pocket Rocket" Richard
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