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Arthur Porter, ex-hospital chief, wants Stephen Harper to visit him in Panama jail

04/10/2015 12:47 EDT | Updated 06/11/2015 05:59 EDT
Arthur Porter, the former Montreal hospital chief accused of taking bribes, says he wants Prime Minister Stephen Harper to visit him in custody in Panama, where he is fighting extradition back to Canada.

"He might be interested in seeing the conditions that has led to a finding of loss of human rights," Porter told CBC News.

He was referring to a UN report that found Panama has violated the rights of the former hospital executive during his 22-month detention while awaiting extradition.

"Canada knows about conditions here. Canada allowed me to spend two years in [a] hell hole," he said.

Harper headed Friday from Ottawa to the Summit of the Americas in Panama.

Porter was arrested May 27, 2013, at the airport in Panama City while flying from the Bahamas to St. Kitts. He was taken into custody based on a Canadian arrest warrant alleging he accepted $22.5 million in bribes in exchange for rigging the construction contract for the proposed McGill University super-hospital in favour of engineering giant SNC-Lavalin.

Canada requested his "preventative detention," pending extradition.

But Porter is fighting the extradition, alleging his arrest was illegal given that he was travelling on a diplomatic passport at the time, as a special ambassador to Sierra Leone, his birthplace. He has also insisted that Panama and Canada are purposely dragging out the process.

Karol Sikora, Porter's longtime friend and doctor, told CBC News last month that Porter is dying of cancer and unless he is brought to hospital soon for tests and new drugs, he will likely die in prison within six to eight weeks.

Sikora is based in the U.K. and hasn't examined Porter in over a year.

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