CALGARY — The release of a double-murderer onto city streets occurred despite the contention of the federal government that the convicted killer should remain in custody, immigration officials said Saturday.
Elvir Pobric, who escaped a Bosnia prison more than 10 years ago and hid as a fugitive in Canada, was released last week, days after his detention review hearing was closed to the public.
The fact Immigration and Refugee Board adjudicator Lee Ann King made the decision to release Pobric pending another hearing, without offering any reasons, has left politicians and police asking questions.
“First, while the IRB operates independently of the government, we are concerned this detention hearing was decided in private as well as the secrecy surrounding the hearings and the decision, ” said Alykhan Velshi, spokesman for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.
“I would note the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act permits such reviews to be held in public when it is appropriate to do so”.
“I note as well the government had strongly argued Pobrics detention should be maintained.”
Police Chief Rick Hanson would not elaborate on the case but said reports of the convicted killers release are concerning.
“Based on what I am hearing in the media, the federal minister is asking all of the right questions and I certainly share the ministers concerns,” Hanson said.
Pobric is said to have entered Canada as a refugee about 10 years ago.
Sherrifs found the fugitive last month and he was arrested in Calgary.
Pobric was imprisoned for the execution-style slayings of two associates who trafficked in black market currency in a Bosnian village, but escaped in a 1996 prison break.
“Any person responsible for a gang-style double execution-murder, who was convicted, who then escaped prison and then gained illegal entry into Canada, ought to be considered a threat to public safety,” said Calgary Police Association president John Dooks.
“If there is a reasonable explanation for not believing Elvir Pobric is a violent or dangerous offender, this should be disclosed.
“The absence of any such explanation is extremely alarming. Canada should not be a haven for violent offenders and criminals.”