Dick Cheney's Toronto Visit Prompts Calls For Torture Arrest

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Dick Cheney must be arrested during a visit to Toronto on Halloween, according to a group of lawyers.

In letters to Toronto Chief of Police Bill Blair, Ontario Attorney General John Gerretsen and to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and several cabinet ministers, Lawyers Against The War argues the former U.S. vice president should be arrested "as a person suspected on reasonable grounds of authorizing, counseling, aiding, abetting and failing to prevent torture."

The group contends that Cheney could be arrested either under the Criminal Code of Canada or because Canada is a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

Cheney will be in Canada Thursday to speak at the Toronto Global Forum, hosted by The International Economic Forum of The Americas. The event's theme is "Globalisation At A Crossroads" and Cheney is scheduled to speak about "Energy Security and Evolving Geopolitical Realities in the 21st Century." Several Conservative cabinet ministers will also be speaking at the conference, including Treasury Board President Tony Clement and Minister of International Trade Ed Fast.

A protest organized by a number of anti-war groups is planned for the morning. The Facebook group for the event says several hundred people have committed to attend.

The war crimes allegations against Cheney stem from his role in the War on Terror, specifically the extraordinary rendition program and United States' use of "enhanced interrogation" techniques such as waterboarding.

Cheney told ABC in 2010 that he was "a big supporter of waterboarding."

Earlier this month, waterboarding was allegedly the subject of several jokes at roast of Cheney in New York. Cheney reportedly told one joke himself.

A guest told Buzzfeed that former senator Joe Liberman "said something to the effect that it's nice that we're all here at the Plaza instead of in cages after some war crimes trial."

In a symbolic move, Cheney, George W. Bush and Tony Blair were all convicted of war crimes by a Malaysian court in 2011 and 2012.

This isn't the first time Cheney has stirred up anger in Canada. Last year, he cancelled a trip to Toronto over "security concerns" and in 2011 the former VP was greeted with angry protesters in Vancouver. Cheney was forced to remain in the Vancouver venue for several hours to allow for the crowd to disperse. That protest followed NDP MP Don Davies calling for Cheney to be barred from Canada.

Should Cheney be allowed into Canada? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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