Canada court delays Lai's deportation
Updated: 2006-05-25 10:36
Chinese fugitive Lai Changxing's deportation to China was postponed, after
Canada's Federal Court scheduled a hearing on May 31 in his last-ditch effort to
remain in Canada.
Lai Changxing in
Vancouver, Canada, in 2001. Chinese fugitive Changxing's deportation to
China was postponed, after Canada's Federal Court scheduled a hearing on
May 31 in his last-ditch effort to remain in Canada.
Canadian authorities told the court that Lai's scheduled departure "will be
postponed pending resolution of this hearing by the Court," court spokesman
Andrew Baumberg said in a statement.
Lai has been fighting to stay in Canada since claiming refugee status in
2000. Chinese authorities allege that the former labourer, who has a grade six
education, was the mastermind behind a multi-billion dollar smuggling ring.
Lai was repeatedly turned down in his bid for refugee status in a series of
court rulings and government appeals. Canada Border Services had purchased a
plane ticket for him on Friday, an official with the agency told AFP.
Now Lai's lawyer David Matas said he will argue before the Federal Court that
Lai's removal order should be stayed. He will also ask the court to review the
federal government decision's that Lai would not be at risk if sent back.
Lai has consistently argued that his life will be at risk if he's returned to
China to face unspecified allegations of criminal wrong-doing.
It is illegal in Canada, which does not have capital punishment, to deport
people to countries where they could face execution if convicted of a crime.
China, however, has made a diplomatic promise to Canada that Lai will not be
executed if tried and convicted.
Matas said that if Canada's Federal Court turns down Lai's final appeal, his
last resort will be to appeal to the United Nations to prevent his client being
sent back to China.
He is asking the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to
intervene in Lai's case.
Meanwhile, Lai's former wife and three children, who also lost their bids to
remain in Canada as refugees, are scheduled May 31 for an interview with
government officials about their departure details.