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Ottawa ditches mediation talks in $27 million Abdelrazik lawsuit

Ottawa ditches mediation talks in $27 million Abdelrazik lawsuit
From CBC - April 17, 2018

A sweeping $27 million lawsuit against the federal government brought by a Sudanese-Canadian who was detained overseasand not allowed to return home for six yearsis headed back to court, CBC News has learned.

The Justice Department had been in involved in settlement talks with Abousfian Abdelrazik, but abruptly walked away from a recently scheduled mediation session, said the man's lawyer.

"They said they could not provide us with any reasons," said Paul Champ. "They were looking more at the polls than at their principles and, unfortunately, I think that's probably why they withdrew."

Contacted by CBCNews Monday,CSIS did not respond and a spokespersonfor the Justice Ministerreferred questions to Public Safety.

'The government does not comment on settlement negotiations or ongoing court matters," Scott Bardsley, a spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, said Monday night.

Opening arguments in the lawsuit, which personally names former Conservative foreign affairs minister Lawrence Cannon, will now take place in Federal Court on Sept. 14.

Torture claims

Abdelrazik spent nearly six years in prison or forced exile and only managed to return to Canada in 2009 after the Federal Court ordered the government of former prime minister Stephen Harper to bring him home.

Abdelrazikalleges he was tortured in Sudanese custody and the federal government violated his constitutional right to come home.

Cannon is personally named because he refused to issue an emergency passport to Abdelrazik, whom CSIS and the RCMP claimed was an al Qaida operative and a danger to national security.

Last summer, the Trudeau governmentquietly paid a $10.5 million breach-of-rights settlement in the case involving Omar Khadr, a former detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Not long after that deal became public, Abdelrazik was approached by federal lawyers who asked if there was interest in resolving his case.

The two sides formally agreed to take the mediation route in September 2017 and met throughout the fall to hammer out the terms.

At the same time last fall, Ottawa agreed to settle lawsuits involving Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati and Muayyed Nureddin, all of whom were wrongfully accused of links to terrorism and tortured in Syria. They were collectively paid $31.25 million.

Settlement discussions with Abdelrazik progressed to a full-fledged mediation conference, which was scheduled for between Feb. 28 and March 2.

Lawsuit settlements went over like 'a lead balloon'

Abdelraziknever charged with a crime

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