13:16 GMT28 February 2021
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    TORONTO (Sputnik) - A court-mandated stay of deportation proceedings against a former Nazi, Helmut Oberlander, undermines Canada’s reputation and the admissibility hearings must resume as soon as possible, B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn said.

    Earlier on Monday, Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) spokesperson Anna Pape told Sputnik that IRB is postponing deportation hearings against the former Schutzstaffel (SS) member until March 19 after a Federal Court Justice ordered a stay of the proceedings.

    "Today’s news of the stay of proceedings against ex-Nazi Helmut Oberlander until March 19, 2021, after more than a quarter of a century of legal wrangling, is a tragedy and disgrace to Canada’s reputation," Mostyn said in a statement on Monday evening. "We seek to offer a voice for those who can no longer speak for themselves: this matter must at the very least proceed immediately on March 20, 2021."

    The legal battle, which stretches back to 1995, has seen Canada’s legal system exploited to give Oberlander, complicit in the death of thousands, safe haven and evade justice, added the head of Canada’s oldest independent Jewish Human Rights organization.

    In his decision, Federal Court Justice Richard Southcott said allowing the proceedings to begin could subvert the fairness of the process and that a further stay could be granted past the March 19 date if another application for leave is successfully submitted.

    Oberlander’s lawyers argued in the application that the proceedings would have a debilitating impact on his health and the hearing disability combined with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic could impair his ability to comprehend and respond to the questions. The legal defense team has also raised concerns about an alleged abuse of process, violations of Oberlander’s Charter rights and the ineffectiveness of any judicial reviews if the admissibility hearings proceed.

    However, the Federal Court did toss out a motion from Oberlander’s defense team to suspend the hearings until the leave and the potential judicial review of the case are completed, with Southcott stating that the application did not meet the “exceptional circumstance” threshold and ruling that the IRB’s Immigration Division has jurisdiction to hear the case.

    The IRB had previously consented to a number of procedural accommodations, including attending hearings via teleconference and appointing Oberlander’s daughter as his designated representative due to his numerous ailments.

    A new admissibility hearing date has not been scheduled, Pape said in her statement.

    The 96-year-old has been embroiled in legal battle with the Canadian government since 1995, when the latter began trying to strip Ukrainian-born Oberlander of his citizenship, citing his failure to disclose his links to death squads. After a lengthy legal battle, Oberlander was stripped of his citizenship for the fourth time and final time in 2017 and Canada’s Supreme Court issued a ruling last December that blocked any possibility for Oberlander to appeal this decision.

    An adjudicator ruled in October that the IRB has the jurisdiction to pursue the deportation of Oberlander, concluding that no abuse of process had occurred.

    Additionally, Oberlander faces legal scrutiny in Russia, where investigators say that Oberlander was complicit in the World War II massacre of 27,000 civilians, including orphaned children, in Russia's Rostov region.

    Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) files, accessed by Sputnik in December, revealed that Oberlander, a former interpreter for the Sonderkommando SS-10A death squad, played a role in the massacre.

    Russia’s Investigative Committee has sent a request to the Canadian authorities to provide legal materials related to the probe of Oberlander’s role in the massacre.

    However, in an interview with Sputnik in December 2020, the Russian Embassy in Ottawa said that the Canadian government did not request documents related to the case and has refused to cooperate despite Moscow’s request for legal assistance. The Embassy added that "influential defenders" are working to delay former Nazi’s deportation process.

    Related:

    Canada Postpones Deportation Hearings Against Ex-Nazi Until March 19 - Immigration Board
    Canada Has Set No Date in Ex-Nazi Deportation Case, Hearings to Resume in September
    Canada Considers Ex-Nazi Oberlander’s Request to Scrap Deportation Case
    Canada's Justice Dept. Declines to Comment on Russian Request Regarding Ex-Nazi Probe
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