Re: Paul Martin must call inquiry into Air India case


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Posted by CCD Press Release on 11:44:06 2005/03/17

In Reply to: The Air India debacle posted by Farley



CCD demands that Paul Martin call a public inquiry into the Air India case


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Toronto, Ontario - Thursday 17 March 2005 - After 20 years and more than $100 million, the world has still not learned the truth about the 1985 terrorist attack on Air India flight 182. This flight originated in Canada and ended when terrorist savagery killed 329 innocent people in the air off the coast of Ireland. It was, as one of the victim's relative said, "Canada's 9/11."

"On behalf of the victims, their family and friends, and all Canadians, the Canadian Coalition for Democracies (CCD) is demanding that Prime Minister Paul Martin call a public inquiry into the handling of this case," said Alastair Gordon, President of CCD. "Yesterday's judgment exposes the failures of many aspects of the Canadian justice system including intelligence gathering, storage of evidence, investigation and the presentation of the facts to the court."

The numerous failures on the part of the government and its agencies in this case warrant an open, public, and transparent inquiry. All steps must be taken to ensure that Canada does not become a staging ground for another such terrorist attack and that our court system and all arms of the government are prepared to vigorously investigate and prosecute anyone involved in terrorist activities.

"Since June 21, 1985, when I first heard the news of the explosion of a bomb on Air India flight 182 and the resulting murder of 329 Canadians, never did I think there was a even the slightest chance that the ensuing investigation, apprehension and prosecution of two suspects against whom the evidence was so compelling, could be bungled this badly," said Manoj Pundit, Indo-Canadian Director, CCD. "Yesterday's ruling by the B.C. Court acquitting Bagri and Malik represents the successful culmination of one of the world's worst, and certainly this country's worst, acts of terrorism."

"The Canadian Government was made aware, one year in advance of the terrorist attack, that an Air India aircraft originating from Canada was being targeted by extremists," added Pundit. "The court saw film footage of Canadian Sikh extremists holding rallies at Madison Square Gardens, proclaiming their commitment to eradicating a minimum of 50,000 Hindus. A computer programmer hired by the prosecution to manage the electronic files in the crown's case we are told was the son of one of the accused! Electronic evidence against the accused mysteriously disappeared. How can Canadians have any confidence that such Keystone Cop bumbling will uphold justice and protect Canadians from brutal and determined terrorists?

"Canada has long appeased and coddled terrorists, but yesterday we handed them victory on a silver platter."

In response to the call for an inquiry, Deputy Prime Minister and Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan said that "there will always, in such cases, be unanswered questions."

"Minister McLellan's comments are an insult to Canadians," said Gordon. "After such an appalling failure of justice, Paul Martin should take put away his spin doctors and call an inquiry."

"As Indo-Canadians, we are depending on Prime Minister Paul Martin provide victims' families with the justice and closure they deserve," added Pundit. "An inquiry would also serve to identify the longstanding presence of covert terrorist operations by religious extremists who use Canada as a low-risk base for attacking our democratic allies," said Gordon.

-30-

For more information, please contact

Manoj Pundit
Director
Canadian Coalition for Democracies
manoj@chitizpathak.com
www.CanadianCoalition.com

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