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TERRORISM

Man denies trying to blow up plane to France

One of two men suing Canada for millions of dollars claiming they were falsely linked to terror schemes denied on Thursday that he ever plotted to blow up a plane headed for France.

The allegation was contained in a leaked classified document published last week in a Canadian newspaper.

“These allegations are false and constitute a wholly unmerited attack on my reputation and my security,” the accused, Adil Charkaoui, said in a statement issued by his supporters, who called for a public inquiry.

Montreal’s La Presse said it had obtained a transcript of a 2000 conversation between Charkaoui and another Montreal man that was recorded by Canadian intelligence services.

The document alleged that Charkaoui, originally from Morocco, and Abousfian Abdelrazik, who is of Sudanese origin, had discussed a plot to blow up a plane, possibly an Air France flight, between Montreal and Paris.

“And if we left from here to go, for example, to France. It would be a long trip. We could both register the same day and board separately. There would be two in the front, two (inaudible on the transcript) and two behind. Six in total,” Charkaoui told Abdelrazik, according to the leaked document.

Abdelrazik dismissed the plan as too dangerous.  

But Charkaoui replied that he had some kind of pen-shaped device, saying, “Throw that into a plane and the plane will explode,” according to the transcript quoted by La Presse.

Charkaoui had been suspected of being a sleeper agent for the Al-Qaeda network, and was arrested in May 2003. He spent 21 months in prison, held under a special security certificate.

It is a controversial legal tool under which a foreigner deemed to pose a risk to Canadian national security can be held without trial and then expelled.

Charkaoui was never formally charged and has called for $25 million in compensation from the government.

Abdelrazik is believed to have trained in Al-Qaeda camps in the mid-1990s, and thought to have helped convicted terrorist Ahmed Ressam, who was sentenced in the United States for trying to blow up Los Angeles airport in 1999.

Abdelrazik, 49, was arrested in 2003 by authorities in Sudan and spent a year in prison there. After his release he was unable to travel back to Canada as his name had been added to a UN list of terror suspects.

He spent a year hunkered down in the Canadian embassy in Khartoum, as Ottawa refused to issue him a new passport because he was on the blacklist.

The courts finally overturned Canada’s refusal, and Abdelrazik is campaigning to clear his name and win $27 million in damages.

Abdelrazik’s lawyer, Khalid Elgazzar, previously told AFP that his client was “disappointed” by the leak of the document, which was written in 2004 by Canada’s intelligence services.

It “seemed to be an attempt to drain Mr. Abdelrazik’s efforts to restore his reputation with the UN,” he added.

CRIME

Surgeon fined for trying to sell Paris terror attack victim’s x-ray

A Paris court on Wednesday convicted a surgeon for trying to sell an X-Ray image of a wounded arm of a woman who survived the 2015 terror attacks in the French capital.

Surgeon fined for trying to sell Paris terror attack victim's x-ray

Found guilty of violating medical secrecy, renowned orthopaedic surgeon Emmanuel Masmejean must pay the victim €5,000 or face two months in jail, judges ordered.

Masmejean, who works at the Georges-Pompidou hospital in western Paris, posted the image of a young woman’s forearm penetrated by a Kalashnikov bullet on marketplace Opensea in late 2021.

The site allows its roughly 20 million users to trade non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – certificates of ownership of an artwork that are stored on a “blockchain” similar to the technology used to secure cryptocurrencies.

In the file’s description, the surgeon wrote that the young woman he had operated on had “lost her boyfriend in the attack” on the Bataclan concert hall, the focus of the November 2015 gun and bomb assault in which jihadists killed 130 people.

The X-Ray image never sold for the asking price of $2,776, and was removed from Opensea after being revealed by investigative website Mediapart in January.

Masmejean claimed at a September court hearing that he had been carrying out an “experiment” by putting a “striking and historic medical image” online – while acknowledging that it had been “idiocy, a mistake, a blunder”.

The court did not find him guilty of two further charges of abuse of personal data and illegally revealing harmful personal information.

Nor was he barred from practicing as prosecutors had urged, with the lead judge saying it would be “disproportionate and inappropriate” to inflict such a “social death” on the doctor.

The victim’s lawyer Elodie Abraham complained of a “politically correct” judgement.

“It doesn’t bother anyone that there’s been such a flagrant breach of medical secrecy. It’s not a good message for doctors,” Abraham said.

Neither Masmejean, who has been suspended from his hospital job, nor the victim were present for Wednesday’s ruling.

The surgeon may yet face professional consequences after appearing before the French medical association in September, his lawyer Ivan Terel said.

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