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Terror suspect and family plan to sue for millions in compensation



'I want millions, seriously'
Family has suffered greatly, says wife of former terror suspect
By CHRIS LAMBIE Staff Reporter
Thu. Apr 17 - 5:11 AM

Former Nova Scotian Cheryfa MacAulay Jamal, wife of terror suspect Qayyum Abdul Jamal, arrives at a Brampton, Ont., courthouse on June 6, 2006. Ontario prosecutors stayed charges against her husband and three others this week. (NATHAN DENETTE / CP)

The Nova Scotia-born woman whose husband was jailed for 17 months on allegations of plotting terrorist attacks in Canada wants to sue Ottawa now that the charges have been stayed.

Former Haligonian Cheryfa MacAulay Jamal is married to Qayyum Abdul Jamal, one of 18 people arrested in the summer of 2006 on charges of planning to blow up several sites in southern Ontario.

A judge stayed the charges Tuesday against Mr. Jamal and three of his co-accused.

"I want millions, seriously," Ms. Jamal said Wednesday in a telephone interview from her Mississauga, Ont., home.

"I know it sounds greedy, but I don’t care. I want millions for what the kids have suffered and how much we’ve aged in this process."

Ms. Jamal, who has family in Cape Breton, joked she may use the proceeds of a lawsuit to buy Beinn Bhreagh, Alexander Graham Bell’s family estate and mansion on Bras d’Or Lake, Victoria County

"That would be all right," she said.

Ms. Jamal said both she and her husband have developed arthritis since he was jailed.

"Both of us have lost a lot of energy and vigour because we’ve been locked up," she said. "He’s been locked up two years; I’ve been struggling with four kids alone.

"Middle-age spread is completely out of control on both of us. So now we have to get out and learn how to walk six blocks again. I’m 46, but I feel like I’m about 64."

Ms. Jamal said her husband, 45, is looking into either suing the federal government alone or in a class action with the other three men who also saw their charges stayed this week.

"It’s kind of anti-climactic," she said. "Everybody thinks that it’s over, but it’s not over. It’s ruined two years of our lives and our reputation. And now it’s just all, ‘Whoops, sorry. See ya.’ "

Of the 18 people authorities originally charged, only 11 accused remain before the courts. Charges were also stayed last year against three young people.

"I think they’re cutting their losses and trying to do damage control before this whole thing unravels," Ms. Jamal said.

She believes political machinations were behind the charges.

"They were arrested on a Friday and on Monday they were trying to pass a bill in Parliament to increase funding to CSIS and the RCMP. The Liberals were fighting it. Monday morning, everybody unanimously voted yes in a minute and a half . . . because they were told that their lives were threatened and that these guys wanted to cut their heads off. That’s not even in the charges."

Of the 17 months her husband spent in jail, 13 were in isolation, Ms. Jamal said.

Strangely, some of the changes she’s noticed in her husband since he got out of jail seem for the better.

"He’s a lot more patient and compassionate," she said. "It’s actually softened him a bit."

Her husband has been at home on house arrest for about five months.

"So we’ve been able to support each other and nurture each other and get back to normal already. Now he can go and get out of my face for a while," she said with a laugh.

Ms. Jamal said her husband, whom authorities once dubbed the ringleader of the terrorist plot, has a diploma in mechanical engineering and worked in quality assurance for 12 years in Canada.

"He wants to upgrade his quality courses. He’s been out of the market for two years. That’s kind of ruined his employment status. He lost $100,000 in wages alone."

Before the arrests, he also worked part-time as a school bus driver, she said.

"Do you think any school bus company is ever going to hire him to drive children around again?"

Ms. Jamal, a Muslim convert, was named Sherry MacAulay when she attended Halifax’s Cornwallis Junior High School and Queen Elizabeth High School before dropping out in Grade 10.

"What’s really ironic is I went to Chebucto School from Grade 3 to Grade 6," she said. "And now it’s the Islamic school and the mosque."

Ms. Jamal has three children from her first marriage and four from her present one. After her first marriage failed, she wed Mr. Jamal, who was charged with participating in a terrorist group, receiving terrorist training and attempting to cause an explosion.

She said she hasn’t visited family in Nova Scotia for about five years.

"My mom and my (26-year-old) son are down in Halifax and my dad’s up in Cape Breton. Sometime soon I want to make a trip down."

She said the charges against her husband have put a strain on the relationship with her extended family.

"How could you go to your parents and say, ‘I swear to God I’m innocent?’ I know they’re calling me a terrorist and they’ve thrown my husband in jail, but I swear to God I’m innocent.’ "

Ms. Jamal has worn a full veil for about a decade, which she said puzzles some of her family members in Nova Scotia.

"I’ve embraced this incredibly strange religion that they don’t get at all, that they think I’ve actually taken a step backwards into. So they’ve always been a little wary," she said. "It’s constantly in their face. So there’s a kind of a wall there already."

But she still longs for the sights and smells of the ocean.

"I don’t really miss Halifax, to tell you the truth. It would be very difficult for me, dressed how I am, to go about my day in Halifax."

( clambie@herald.ca)

’I want millions for what the kids have

suffered and how

much we’ve aged

in this process.’

Of course she wants millions: she's a high school drop out ::)
I could say lots but it will all look like "**** ********* ****** *** **** **** ****" after I hit Post.
Should HE be compensated for being incarcerated for all this time and not being found guilty of anything?  Yes.  IMO it should be Actual proveable losses plus say %25 for "pain and suffering".  MAX!  Millions?  No frigging way.
Why should he be compenstated anything?  People are remanded into pre-trial custody every day in Canada and many of them subsequently have the charges dropped, stayed or they are found not guilty and they are released without compensation.  If the Crown can make a compelling argument as to why they need to be remanded in custody, they stay locked up, if the Crown can't, then a bail amount is set and if the bail is posted, out they go.

I think her interview proves the whole point behind this; greed, plain and simple.
Am I right in saying that a stay in charges in no way means they are actually dropping the charges. It's simply a postponement in proceedings, is it not?

Until he is actually aquitted, I don't think we have to worry about anyone getting millions on this one.

Harris said:
Should HE be compensated for being incarcerated for all this time and not being found guiulty of anything?  Yes.  IMO it should be Actual proveable losses plus say %25 for "pain and suffering".  MAX!  Millions?  No frigging way.

Its been done in the past, with awards usually including lost wages and damage to reputation, but asking for millions is just plain stupid.  Plus, her lawyer is probably telling her right now, "Will you shut the hell up!?"...