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Thursday, January 22, 2004

Ex-terrorist gets boot

By TOM GODFREY, SUN MEDIA

 An accused sleeper agent who claims he has retired from a Palestinian terrorist group has lost an eight-year court battle to remain in Canada.

Issam al Yamani, 47, who was born in Lebanon but now lives in Toronto, claims he retired in 1992 from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and isn't a threat to national security.

But the Federal Court of Canada has ruled he may pose a threat to Canada.

"Sleeper or retired terrorists may be reactivated," Justice Marshall Rothstein said.

"Having been a member of a terrorist group is a continuing status."

Al Yamani, who claimed to be a stateless Palestinian, told the court he severed his ties with the PFLP and has lived in Canada peacefully for eight years.

Canadian Security Intelligence Service agents claim al Yamani likely will engage in acts of violence if allowed to remain here.

"Terrorist organizations by their nature are unpredictable," Rothstein said. "The existence of sleeper cells is widely recognized."

He called the PFLP "a multi-faceted organization" and "an internationally recognized national liberation movement."

Toronto lawyer Barbara Jackman argued the case has placed al Yamani and his family through significant and considerable psychological stress and stigma.

Immigration officials said al Yamani, a landed immigrant, will be deported as soon as possible to Lebanon.


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