Yemeni man arrested September 11 treated deplorably in jail, lawyer tells court.
TORONTO (CP)- The case of a Yemeni national who was alledgedly travelling with phoney passports on the day of the U.S. terrorist attacks remained murky Thursday despite his lawyer’s first court appearance.
Nageeb Abdul Jabar Mohamed Al- Hadi, clad in handcuffs, sneakers and ill- fitting orange prison garb, coolly and silently surveyed the courtroom from the prisoner’s docket after he was escorted in by guards. It was a marked contrast to his appearance Tuesday, when the visibly agitated Al- Hadi complained in frantic Arabic about the way he’s been treated at the Metro West Detention Centre.
This time, lawyer Gary Batasar- who wasn’t present at Tuesday’s hearing- did all the talking as his client sat calmly listening to an interpreter’s translation of the proceedings.
“He’s in a maximum- security jail and not facing any charges here in Canada,” Batasar told Superior Court Justice Brian Trafford. “He’s ina cell by himself in isolation. And I find that deplorable.”
Authorities in Canada say Al- Hadi was carrying multiple passports with different names when he was plucked from an airliner in Toronto amid the terrorist turmoil three weeks ago.
Batasar said Al- Hadi;s name is on a list of several prisoners with “Arabic- sounding names” who are in solitary confinement and not allowed to have visitors without special clearance.
“I take great umbrange with respect to the way the jail is treating this gentleman,” he said, adding Al- Hadi has nonetheless had unsolicited visits from lawyers presumably hoping to take up his case.
In the wake os last month;’s attacks, officials in Ontario’s Corrections Ministry ordered all prisoners with “Arabic or Muslim names” to be placed in solitary confinement, a source close to Metro West said Thursday.
“There are two types of segregation: one is for punishment and the other is for your own protection,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“When they put you in segregation for your own protection, they’re not suppose to punish you by not letting you use a phone or see people.”
Ministry spokesperson Julia Noonan refused to confirm or deny whether such a policy is in place at Metro West, citing matters of “institutional security.”
She also dismissed the idea that the facitlity would be segregating prisoners on the basis of race.
“Good correctional practice is not that we would place them in segregation solely on what their name is.” Noonan said.
Canadian authorities charged Al- Hadi on behalf of the U.S. with making false statements in the issue of a passport and with using a fraudulent passport to obtain an American visa.
He has been in jail in Toronto since arriving in Canada on September 11 on a Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt, Germany that was originally destined for Chicago.
Al- Hadi’s flight was diverted after two hijacked airliners hurtled into New York’s World Trade Center, reducing the towering symbol of U.S. commercial might to a smoking ruin. Nearly 6,000 people are feared dead.
Within an hour of the New York attack, a third plane crashed into the Pentagon outside Washington, killing nearly 200 people.
A fourth hijacked plane was headed for Wasington when it plunged into the Pennsylvania countryside after an apparent stuggle between the hijackers and a group of passengers.
American authorities have not yet filed for Al- Hadi to be extradited to the U.S. The deadline to do so is November 19.
“The united state government is aware of its obluigations under the treaty,” Batasar said outside court. “I hope they exercise their obligations as soon as possible.”
Failure to meet the deadline would require Al- Hadi’s immediate release, said Batasar, who refused to talk about discussions he’s had with his client. “That’s between me and Mr. Al- Hadi.”
The case returns to court October 25 to schedule a bail hearing/ Batasar said he may also make a formal application to have Al- Hadi moved to a more appropriate facility.
U.S. court documents show the FBI alledges Al- Hadi was carrying three Yemeni passports with different names, dates, if issue and dates of birth when he was apprehended in Toronto.
The names on the passports were Nageeb Abdul Jabar Mohamen Al- Hadi; Najob Abdo Gabber Mohammed; and Saleh Nagi Edhah.
The complain did not indicate whether authorities believe Al- Hadi is connected to the terrorist attacks.
Al- Hadi’s baggage, which arrived in Chicago on an earlier flight, contained two Lufthans crew uniforms, at least one identification card and a piece of paper with Arabic writing sewn into the pocket of a pair of pants, the FBI said in an affidavit.
Yemeni embassy officials say Al- Hadi also faces charges in Yemen relating to inconsistencies in his passport applications.