* Hijacker had defied deportation from Canada since 1988
* Canada has clamped down on immigration system
* Mohammad convicted of 1968 attack on El-Al plane in Athens
OTTAWA, May 13 After a 25-year legal battle,
Canada has finally deported a Palestinian convicted of an attack
on an Israeli airliner in 1968, Immigration Minister Jason
Kenney said on Monday.
Mahmoud Mohammad Issa Mohammad, a former Popular Front for
the Liberation of Palestine commando, took part in the assault
on an El Al jet in Athens that killed an Israeli man. He was
deported to Lebanon on Saturday.
A Greek court sentenced him to 17 years in jail in 1970, but
he was released a year later in a hostage exchange. He came to
Canada in February 1987 under a false identity.
Officials started trying to deport Mohammad in 1988 but he
managed to stay in Canada by claiming refugee status and then
launched a series of legal appeals against his deportation.
"This case is almost a comedy of a errors ... This a
cautionary tale. We should never allow a situation like this to
happen again," said Kenney, blaming previous governments for
presiding over what he called a dysfunctional system.
"He made a mockery of our legal system. We believe that even
criminals should get due process and they should get their day
in court but they should not be able to abuse our fair process,"
he told reporters.
Canada's right-leaning Conservative government, which took
power in 2006, has clamped down on the immigration and refugee
system and eliminated many of the rights of appeal that Mohammad
Kenney told reporters that Mohammad - who is stateless - had
married a Lebanese national and had legal status in Lebanon.
Canada has concluded he would not face any risks in Lebanon, he
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Peter Galloway)