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Attorney: Gay man might face torture if extradited to Mexico

April 16, 1997

TORONTO (AP) _ A Canadian man accused of killing his gay lover during a vacation in Mexico could face torture or possible death if he is extradited to face charges, the man’s lawyer told an Ontario court Tuesday.

Dennis Hurley, 33, is wanted in Mexico on charges of first-degree murder in the death of Murray Haigh, a Toronto landscape architect.

Haigh, 46, was found dead in a bathtub in San Miguel de Allende on Jan. 28, 1993. An autopsy revealed he had drowned, but also suffered a blow to the head and bruising from a heavy, blunt object.

Hurley was supposed to report to a police station two days after the death, but instead fled to Canada.

Justice Minister Allan Rock has ordered that Hurley be extradited. But lawyer Frank Addario told the Ontario Court of Appeal that Hurley’s sexual orientation would put him at risk of attack in Mexico.

``If ever there is a case for intervention, where there is real substance to the claim that risk of discrimination will arise, this is the case,″ Addario said.

The court reserved judgment on whether to uphold Rock’s order.

Sean Dewart, a lawyer for two gay rights groups, said Mexico has an appalling record of harassment and abuse against homosexuals.

``This is not a safe justice system into which a Canadian citizen can be sent,″ Dewart said.

However, government attorney Kevin Wilson argued human rights abuses in Mexico occur largely against Mexicans, not foreign nationals. He also said Hurley would be further protected by conditions Rock attached to the extradition order.

The justice minister has requested written assurances from Mexico that Hurley’s safety would be protected, that Canadian Embassy officials could visit him in jail and that he receive a speedy trial.

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