Canadian sentenced to life in Ethiopia

Lawyers for Bashir Makhtal will launch an appeal within two weeks, though human rights groups question his chance at a fair h

David McDougall

Globe and Mail Update

Bashir Makhtal, a Canadian citizen who has been imprisoned in Ethiopia for two and a half years, was handed a life sentence Monday by the High Court in Addis Ababa after being convicted on three terrorism related charges.

Though the prosecution had been seeking a death penalty for Mr. Makhtal, a 40-year-old former Toronto resident who emigrated to Canada in 1991, his lawyer in Ethiopia said they had been asking for a light prison term.

“He's very unhappy,” said the lawyer, Gebramlak Gebregiorgis Tekle. “When a person hears he's going to spend the rest of his life in prison, definitely he would be unhappy.”

Mr. Tekle said they planned to launch an appeal with the Federal Supreme Court within two weeks. But human rights groups and legal experts have repeatedly questioned the likelihood of Mr. Makhtal receiving a fair trial in Ethiopia.

“Although it's true there is an appeal process,” said Toronto lawyer Lorne Waldman, who has been retained by Mr. Makhtal's family to represent his case in Canada, “we have no expectation that the appeal decision will be any different than the trial decision, because as we know the judiciary is not independent in Ethiopia.”

“Whatever happens to Bashir Makhtal will be a political decision and not a legal decision.”

Mr. Makhtal was arrested by Kenyan authorities in December, 2006 as he attempted to cross the border from Somalia on a Canadian passport to escape fighting between Islamist militia and the Ethiopian army.

According to friends, family and Mr. Makhtal's own court testimony, he was in Mogadishu for business, importing used clothing from Dubai for resale in East Africa.

Mr. Makhtal was never charged in Kenya. Instead, three weeks after his arrest, he was forcibly deported along with scores of other prisoners to Mogadishu and ultimately Ethiopia, where he was held for nearly two years incommunicado and in solitary confinement. For most of that time he was denied consular access.

Friends and family say Mr. Makhtal was detained because his grandfather was one of the founding members of the Ogaden National Liberation Front, an ethnic Somalia separatist movement which Ethiopian considers a terrorist organization, though Mr. Makhtal denies having any involvement with the organization.





Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre

 Ethiopian justice is obviously corrupt but, before Canadians rush to judgment about Ethiopian justice regarding Mr. Makhtal they should spare a thought for the Ontario Father's who don't even get a trial before being sentenced to life times of incarceration.

The Ontario Superior Court is probably equally corrupt as any third world country and there are many third world countries that have a less corrupt judiciary and court system than Canada.

The Ontario Superior court of justice, "Family Division" has an underbelly of the most corrupt abusers with serious and obvious personality disorders that would prevent them from obtaining employment in any occupation where psychological screening is employed.

This underbelly make "Power Orders" or "Sheffield Orders" that "strike pleadings", issue "summary judgment" and declare fathers "vexatious litigants" for simply asking an Ontario Superior Court judge for access or for a trial.

Our Ontario Superior court is founded on hatred and corruption, the very worst lawyers, the ones who demonstrate the most hatred towards men, are frequently rewarded with a judicial appointment.

Those judges in Superior court who demonstrate the most hatred towards men, and a willingness to do indirectly what is prohibited directly, get appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal where the real contest begins.

In the Ontario Court of Appeal, historically, the judges who demonstrate the most corrupt man hating biased decisions, get appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada.

And that, to anyone in the legal profession is a very accurate gaze at the Crystal Ball as to who will be the next appointee to the Supreme Court of Canada.

It may also happen in reverse, the most man hating judge on the Supreme court of Canada may not get enough male lives to destroy and find their addiction to destruction of men can only be fueled by a reappointment to the Ontario Court of Appeal.