Threatened lawyer drops controversial clients
A high-profile Toronto lawyer says he is resigning from all national security cases after receiving a death threat this week.
Rocco Galati has been representing 20-year-old Abdurahman Khadr, a Canadian man who was held at the U.S. military holding centre in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on suspicion of terrorist links.
- FROM DEC. 1, 2003: Khadr thankful to be back in Canada
A day after Monday's news conference with Khadr, Galati says he discovered a message on his phone answering machine. The speaker threatened to kill him, said Galati.
"It's a frightening call. It's not the run-of-the-mill, ranting and raving sort of lunatic hate call that you might expect or usually get," said Galati. "It's obviously a direct, cold, professional call."
Galati says police have traced the call to a Mississauga phone booth. Police placed his house under heightened alert for 911 calls, but have offered no extra protection, he says.
"I simply am not prepared to continue and I'm not going to be representing [Khadr] or any other client" in national-security cases, he said.
"I can't in this atmosphere continue to represent people at risk to my personal life when I have no protection and am being refused protection."
Galati has also represented Mahmoud Jaballah, a Toronto teacher who is accused of belonging to an al-Qaeda-linked group.
- FROM MAR. 11, 2002: Lawyer for suspected terrorist walks out of court