Ex-arafat Bodyguard Seeks Custody Release from Canada

A former bodyguard for Yasser Arafat whom Canada has attempted to deport for more than a year is trying to be released from protective custody.

At a bail hearing last week, Wahid Khalil Baroud, 45, who was a bodyguard for Palestine Liberation Organization leader Arafat, said he came to Canada in 1991 from Greece “to rejoin my family and live in peace with my children.” Baroud’s wife and three children, who came to Canada in 1990, have refugee status.

It has been alleged that Baroud, a Palestinian, has taken part in terrorist activities.

The review in federal court was triggered by the inability to find a country willing to take in Baroud.

A federal lawyer described the hearing as the first bail review of its kind under Canada’s Immigration Act.

Under terms of the Immigration Act, anyone in Baroud’s position can seek release from custody 120 days after a court confirms a ministerial certificate that orders the deportation of someone alleged to threaten national security.

At issue in the hearing is whether the deportation can be accomplished “in reasonable time” and whether Baroud poses a threat to Canada.

A judge who confirmed the ministerial certificate on May 31 said he found no evidence that Baroud had engaged in terrorist activities.

This summer, it appeared that Algeria would accept him. But when Baroud, accompanied by Royal Canadian Mounted Police agents, flew to Algiers, Algerian officials refused him entry, and he returned to Canada – and jail – the next day.

Baroud’s wife testified Friday that she alone had arranged for asylum in Algeria. Canadian officials bungled the release, she said, by insisting that Algeria sing papers that Baroud had been a terrorist. Algeria refused to sign the documents.

The hearing continues Nov. 9.

Baroud, who was born in Gaza and was a member of Al Fatah, testified that he left the organization in October 1990.

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