Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Supreme Court Upholds Decision to Deny Libyan Man Residency Status

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Supreme Court Upholds Decision to Deny Libyan Man Residency Status

Article excerpt

High court rules against Libyan man

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OTTAWA - The Supreme Court has denied a Libyan man's request for permanent residency status in Canada.

In a 7-0 ruling Thursday, the high court upheld a 2009 decision by Peter Van Loan, then the public safety minister, to reject the man's application on the grounds he was inadmissible in the national interest.

Muhsen Ahmed Ramadan Agraira came to Canada on a false Italian passport in 1997 and originally claimed refugee status because he was a member of the Libyan National Salvation Front -- a group that opposed dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

His claim was rejected in 1998 because his application was not deemed credible and was against Canada's national security interests.

Agraira married a Canadian woman in 1999, who sponsored him for permanent residency.

Agraira's lawyer, Lorne Waldman, called the court's ruling and the government's position ironic, given that Canadian warplanes were part of the NATO-led coalition that helped groups such as the LNSF in toppling Gadhafi in 2011.

"When Gadhafi was overthrown this organization was involved in the coalition and Canada used military force to support the overthrow of Gadhafi," Waldman said.

"Where is logic in deporting my client for being involved in an organization that we supported militarily and politically?"

The Supreme Court offered Agraira one remaining option to stay in Canada -- to reapply under humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

"Having concluded that the minister's implied interpretation of the term 'national interest' is reasonable, I should also confirm that the decision as a whole is valid," Justice Louis LeBel wrote on behalf of the court.

"The minister's reasons were justifiable, transparent and intelligible."

LeBel said that the minister took into account Agraira's "contradictory and inconsistent accounts of his involvement with the LNSF, a group that has engaged in terrorism. …

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