MONTREAL – The former head of Canada’s spy-agency watchdog is planning to fight his extradition to Canadian soil following his arrest in Panama.
Dr. Arthur Porter and his wife, Pamela, were taken into custody this week by Panamanian authorities after they arrived in the Central American country.
The Porters’ Panamanian lawyer tells The Canadian Press that they will not only fight the extradition but also seek bail in the coming days.
Ricardo Bilonick will contest the Canadian extradition request — which he says contains poorly prepared documents.
Police say they detained the Porters after learning that Canadian authorities had issued an Interpol arrest warrant for them on fraud-related allegations.
Panamanian police have said Porter stopped in the country en route to Trinidad and Tobago from his home in the Bahamas.
But Bilonick says the pair was actually headed to Antigua — where Porter was scheduled to meet with the prime minister as part of a diplomatic mission for his native Sierra Leone.
Bilonick says Porter used his Sierra Leonean diplomatic passport to enter Panama.
The lawyer also says Porter’s business partner at a Bahamian medical clinic will travel to Panama this week to treat his ailing friend.
Dr. Karol Sikora was one of the cancer experts who examined Lockerbie airplane bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi. Porter has said he was suffering from stage-four cancer and was too ill to travel.
Bilonick, meanwhile, has a connection to another controversial 1980s figure: Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega. The former airline owner and diplomat testified at Noriega’s 1991 trial that he and the ex-general transported cocaine into the United States on airplanes.
Porter has been wanted for months in connection with the province’s ongoing corruption scandals, and the construction of a $1.3-billion hospital complex.
Porter, however, has been quoted in media reports as saying he did nothing wrong.