Sunday, June 21, 2009

Canada seeking clemency for double murderer in Montana

This is from AFP.

Here again a court has to order the Conservative government to do what it should have done without being forced. The court also had to order Canada to allow Abdelrazik back to Canada.
Canada does not have the death penalty and has always in the past tried to obtain clemency for Canadians sentenced to death in other countries. However, the Conservative govt. given its moral superiority wants to pick and choose which accused it will request clemency for.

Canada seeking clemency for double-murderer in Montana: FM
1 day ago

OTTAWA (AFP) — The Canadian government said Friday it has sought clemency for a Canadian on death row in Montana, in accordance with a court order, but would decide "case-by-case" whether to do so for others.

"We are complying with the court ruling," Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon told the House of Commons.

But, he added, "we want justice to be done for Canadians abroad and that is why we will continue to study on a case-by-case basis whether we should ask for clemency for Canadians condemned to death abroad."

Ronald Allen Smith was convicted in 1983 of murdering two Americans a year earlier near Glacier National Park in the northwest United States, and was sentenced to death.

During most of the past quarter century, successive Canadian governments have sought clemency on his behalf from the governor of Montana on humanitarian grounds.

But that suddenly changed in November 2007 under a new Conservative administration led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Canada would no longer actively seek clemency for Canadians on death row who had been tried and convicted in democratic countries that support the rule of law, said ministers.

Smith's lawyers argued the policy reversal provided tacit approval for his execution, and breached Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The government, meanwhile, claimed a "royal prerogative" to ignore his plight.

Federal Court Justice Robert Barnes ruled the government has a right to set foreign policy, but its reversal in this case was "arbitrary and unlawful," as it seemingly targeted Smith.

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