Lawyers for Canada terror suspects allege ill treatment, unfair proceedings

[JURIST] Fourteen of the 17 Canadian men arrested on terror charges [JURIST report], including five teenagers, appeared Monday in the Ontario Court of Justice [official website], where lawyers for some of the adult suspects complained that their clients had been beaten by guards and held in solitary confinement, among other instances of ill treatment. One other suspect will appear in court on July 4, while the remaining two are serving prison sentences for unrelated charges. The 17 suspects were arrested on June 2 on charges [CBC breakdown by suspect] of being members of a terrorist cell that planned to detonate bombs on targets in southern Ontario and Toronto.

In a related development, a prominent Canadian lawyer representing one of the suspects said Monday that they do not stand a chance at a fair trial [Reuters report] because both Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper [statement; official website] and Toronto Mayor David Miller [official profile], as well as several Muslim leaders, have publicly declared that the suspects are guilty. Rocco Galati [Wikipedia profile], representing Ahmad Mustafa Ghany, added that the lack of private access to their lawyers made a fair trial for the accused even more difficult, if not impossible. Galati, who has represented other Canadians accused of al Qaeda involvement, said that the idea that authorities would hold a fair criminal trial has been discredited. Calling proceedings "a show trial for political ends," Galati added that the prosecution was meant to "the vote in the House of Commons on extending the anti-terrorism provision and to influence the Supreme Court of Canada in its constitutional review of anti-terrorism provisions." The Canadian government last week announced plans to introduce new anti-terror legislation [JURIST report]. AP has more. Reuters has additional coverage. The Toronto Star has local coverage.

7:28 PM ET - An Ontario justice of the peace on Monday imposed a publication ban on proceedings, though defense lawyers said the move came too late as much of the information surrounding the case has already been released publicly. CTV has more.

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