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12-06-06, 20:15
Lawyer complains about plot suspects' treatment

Updated Sun. Jun. 11 2006 11:50 PM ET

CTV.ca News Staff

While they will be back in court Monday for a bail hearing, the suspects in an alleged Toronto terror plot have had no access to family and few have seen their lawyers, says one lawyer involved in the case.

"Now 10 days since the arrest. That's totally unacceptable," Rocco Galati told CTV News on Sunday.

Galati, who has previously represented members of the notorious Khadr family, also attacked the amount of information leaked by the authorities about the Crown's case against the suspects.

"On what planet in this particular solar system do we expect a fair bail hearing or trial? Where are we going to find jurors or a judge in a sufficient coma during this process?" Galati asked sarcastically.

Since the June 2 arrests, the Toronto and national media have provided intensive coverage of the case, based on unnamed sources, including the alleged selection of targets.

At their first court appearance on June 3, there were police snipers on the rooftops near the Brampton, Ont. courthouse and helicopters hovering overheard.

Security was still tight last Tuesday for the suspects' next appearance, but not as heavy as the June 3 one.

Harper's meeting

Prime Minister Stephen Harper had an "open dialogue" with members of the Muslim community Saturday evening.

The meeting was held as leaders representing more than 30 mosques and Muslim organizations throughout Canada gathered in Mississauga, Ont., to discuss ways of combating extremism.

Harper's meeting with the representatives took place behind closed doors, and members of the media were not allowed to attend.

Parliamentary Secretary Jason Kenney attended the meeting with Harper, and told CTV's Question Period it was an open and frank dialogue.

"It was really a first opportunity since the arrests for the Prime Minister ... to have an open dialogue with a cross section of people from Canada's Muslim community," Kenney said.

About 20 people, both men and women from a variety of backgrounds, both religious and secular backgrounds, attended the meeting, Kenney said.

"It was a very useful exchange of ideas. We heard concerns, obviously, about some of the extremist elements and how they're trying to mislead youth," Kenney said.

"We heard concerns that the government stand in solidarity with the community against any kind of backlash, and we heard suggestions about how we could go forward, perhaps with some kind of study or review of the issues that came out last month."

Those issues, Kenney said, included challenges faced by Muslim youth in Canada -- particularly young men -- the influence of extremist elements within the Islamic community, and methods of combating that influence.

"It was the beginning and not the end of a dialogue," Kenney said.

One participant Mohamed Tohti, said Harper "drew a clear line between the criminal element, and the vast majority of law-abiding people and this cannot be generalized for all Muslims in Canada."

Although Harper made no pledges, he reportedly took detailed not and assured participants he recognized the concerns of the Muslim community.

Liberal MP Wajid Khan said dialogue between the government and the Islamic community is good, and he has personally met with more than 47 Muslim groups in recent days to discuss similar issues.

However, he came out strong against Muslim groups who have tried to defend the religion in the wake of the arrests.

"First of all the Muslim groups and mosques have to stop making excuses and trying to defend Islam," Khan told Question Period. "It's not an Islamic issue. I think they should be talking and preaching life, and what is really Islamic, and that the Canadian way of life is very much Islamic."

Khan also said there must be more clarity about Canada's role in Afghanistan in order to prevent a backlash among radical Muslims.

"All governments have failed and the media has also failed to educate people about the war in Afghanistan," he said. "We do not know what the mission is, and if that is an issue that infuriates some people, we need to have that debate. And there are experts who are prepared to come and talk about it so people know what this mission is all about."

With a report from CTV's Denelle Balfour
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