TORONTO (JTA) — Canada deported convicted Palestinian terrorist Mahmoud Mohammad Issa Mohammad after a 25-year legal battle.
At a news conference in Ottawa on Monday, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said the Mohammad affair shows how broken the Canadian immigration system has become and that his deportation sends “the message that we will no longer be treated like suckers by terrorists.”
Kenney noted that Mohammad, 69, a one-time member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, stormed an Israeli airliner in Athens in 1968, “throwing grenades and firing live rounds at innocent civilians,” killing one passenger. He was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 17 years by the Greek courts.
But later that year, he was freed when Palestinian terrorists stormed another plane and demanded his release.
Mohammad obtained residency in Lebanon and, in 1987, immigrated to Canada “under a false alias, through immigration fraud,” Kenney said.
“He lied about his identity, he lied about not having a criminal past, he lied about not having ties to terrorist organizations. He flagrantly violated Canada’s fair immigration laws and this country’s generosity,” Kenney said. “He made a mockery of our legal system.”
Legal proceedings to deport Mohammad began in 1988. Court battles, risk assessments, hearings and appeals took up the ensuing years.
Mohammad was flown to Lebanon May 11 aboard an air ambulance owing to a heart condition, diabetes and other ailments. His lawyer argued that he will not be able to afford treatment in Lebanon because he is not a citizen of that country and is, in fact, stateless.
Kenney was unmoved.
“We believe that even criminals should get due process and they should get their day in court, but they should not be able to abuse our fair process and have endless years in court delaying their deportation, especially someone like this who is a terrorist killer,” he said.