MONTREAL (Feb. 16)
Israel may seek the extradition of convicted Palestinian terrorist Mohammad Mahmud Issa, who entered Canada a year ago on an immigration visa he allegedly obtained under false pretenses.
Reginald Smith, president of the International Association of Airline Pilots, told reporters here that he was informed by the Israel consul general in Montreal, Shalom Schirman, that “The Israel government has started juridical negotiations with the the government of Canada” for Issa’s extradition.
Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, told McGill University students here Sunday that Israel has alerted Canadian authorities that it wants to discuss Issa’s case with them.
As deportation proceedings against Issa opened Monday before an immigration court in Hamilton, Ontario, Israeli sources claimed he was not a refugee.
Instead, they charged he was a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine who committed terrorist acts years after his release from prison in Greece as part of a hostage exchange.
Documents provided by Interpol, the international police information exchange, concerning terrorist acts by Issa in Morocco were sent to External Affairs Minister Joe Clark by Israel Gonen, president of the Association of Israeli Pilots.
One incident occurred dated June 11, 1987, some seven months before Issa entered Canada. Another is dated August 1986. Gonen also mentioned a terrorist act in 1982. He did not disclose the nature or location of these activities.
Representatives of civil aviation organizations from all over the world are in Canada this week to attend a meeting of the Montreal-based Organization of International Civil Aviation.
Gonen said on a television interview that the organization would ask the Canadian government to prosecute Issa “in accordance with the organization’s agreement… to punish terrorists wherever they are found, and if not, they should be extradited.”
Issa originally was convicted of an offense against civil aviation — the bombing of an Israeli airliner at Athens airport in 1968 in which one man was killed. A Greek court sentenced him in 1970 to 17 years and five months in prison, but he served only a year.
He obtained his visa from the Canadian Consulate in Madrid in January 1987 by concealing his identity. When his background was finally discovered by Canadian intelligence in February, he already was on a plane for Toronto. Although immigration authorities were alerted, he evaded detection at the airport.
Issa went on Canadian television two weeks ago claiming he was a refugee who wanted only to raise his family in peace in Canada.