Canada denies arrest in Dubai assassination case

Thu Oct 21, 2010 6:08pm EDT
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VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Canada has made no arrests in connection with the January assassination of a Hamas militant in Dubai, despite the claims of a senior police official there, the federal safety minister said on Thursday.

Vic Toews said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the national police force, told him they had made no arrest in connection with the case, and no other law enforcement agency could have done it without making the news public.

"We don't have secret prisons in Canada, so if somebody was arrested they would have had to go before a court," Toews told Reuters at an event near Vancouver on the government's plans to toughen the country's immigration laws.

Dubai's police chief, Dahi Khalfan Tamim, said on Tuesday that Canada had made an arrest in connection with the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, and complained that Canadian authorities were refusing to provide any details.

Assassins killed Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in his Dubai hotel room in a hit widely blamed on Israeli intelligence agents. The large-scale operation involved a ring of suspects who wore disguises and held passports from countries including Britain, France, Germany, and Australia.

A suspected Israeli agent was detained in Poland in August and handed over to Germany, which freed him on bail. The man was suspected of fraudulently obtaining a German passport believed to have been used by a member of the hit squad.

Dubai police accused Israel in February of being behind the hit, a claim echoed by some other governments and which was followed by the expulsion of some Israeli diplomats in several countries. Israel, citing an "ambiguity" policy in intelligence activities, has refused to confirm or deny the allegations.

(Reporting Allan Dowd; editing by Rob Wilson)