The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled unanimously that the security certificate regime *IS* constitutional. You can read the ruling here: http://ow.ly/wPQ8k, et en Français ici: http://ow.ly/BVHZO
ByTowne to screen film of five terror suspects jailed without trialposted on November 11, 2014 | in Category Upcoming Events | PermaLink
Date: November 9, 2014
Five men who were jailed without trial and never shown the evidence against them — it sounds like something from Soviet-era Russia, but it happened here and it’s still happening.
Filmmaker Amar Wala said he was shocked, as were many Canadians, to hear that five men men were detained in this country without due process.
In his first feature-length film, The Secret Trial 5, being screened in Ottawa next weekend, Wala tells the stories of Adil Charkaoui, Hassan Almrei, Mahmoud Jaballah, Mohamed Harkat and Mohammad Zeki Mahjoub. Each man each spent anywhere from three to seven years in jail, plus time in strict house arrest under the country’s controversial security certificates.
The law allows the government to detain and deport non-citizens if they are considered a threat to national security.
Under that law, these five men were never charged and never saw the evidence against them, said Wala.
“A person should never be held in prison without being charged with a crime,” he said. “That’s something we believe in, very deeply, in Canada. We believe in the right to a fair trial and we’ve abandoned that principle here. So I really hope that the film makes them understand just how these things effect people, not just the men but their wives, their children, their communities, us as a country.”
Sophie Harkat, wife of former pizza deliveryman Mohamed Harkat, said they are starting to feel a sense of freedom now that her husband’s strict house arrest conditions have been relaxed. The Algerian immigrant was issued a security certificate in 2002 and spent 43 months in prison, both at the Ottawa-Carleton District Detention Centre and the Kingston Immigration Holding Centre (dubbed “Guantanamo North”). After his release, he spent three and a half years under house arrest in Ottawa.
In a Supreme Court ruling, security certificates were deemed unconstitutional in 2007, but the law was amended the following year. Harkat has challenged the new law, but it was upheld in the spring. The government is now able to deport him.
Sophie Harkat said she hopes The Secret Trial 5 will shed light on his story and security certificates, in general.
“His family believes in him, we all believe in his innocence, but that’s not the important thing here,” she said. “Due process is the important thing. Due process for him, for the others and for anybody that will come after us.”
Wala raised about $50,000 through Kickstarter to fund the making of The Secret Trial 5. Now he and his fellow producers have started another campaign to fund a cross-country tour of the film.
The Secret Trial 5 will be at the ByTowne Cinema Nov. 16-18.
Copyright 2001-2014, Free Daily News Group Inc.
New anti-terror tracking measures will address 'black hole': CSISposted on October 16, 2014 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink
Date: October 16, 2014
Security lawyers warn that blanket intelligence source protection could endanger court proceedings
Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney has unveiled new federal plans to boost protection for intelligence sources, by giving them the same protections bestowed upon police informants in criminal cases.
The new bill, which will likely be tabled next week, is meant to clarify the current laws, the minister told reporters.
"CSIS is relying on those sources, since it is an intelligence agency, so that is why it is so critical and important that we enable CSIS with the same authority that other law enforcement agencies have … so CSIS can fully operate and protect Canadians within the scope of the law."
In response to a question on how such evidence could be tested in court without giving defence attorneys the ability to cross-examine sources, CSIS assistant director of operations Andy Ellis pointed out that the agency "has a very robust system in place" for gathering information.
"We make every attempt to ensure that the information we're getting is corroborated and accurate, and we do not act on single-source information."
[ Read the rest ... ]
[VIDEO] The Secret Trial 5 World Premiere at Hot Docs Documentary Festivalposted on May 20, 2014 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink
Independent Jewish Voices Appalled by Court Rulings on Hassan Diab and Mohamed Harkatposted on May 20, 2014 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink
Source: Independent Jewish Voices
Date: May 15, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 15, 2014
Independent Jewish Voices Appalled by Court Rulings on Hassan Diab and Mohamed Harkat
OTTAWA – With the decision to extradite Hassan Diab to France affirmed by the Ontario Court of Appeal, human rights supporters across the country are appalled by the decision, and fearful of the precedent this sets for Canadian citizens.
“Independent Jewish Voices is stunned by the Kafkaesque trial against Dr. Diab, who has been wrongly accused of a heinous crime committed decades ago,” says IJV spokesperson Sid Shniad.
“Despite the fact that Dr. Diab’s fingerprints, palm prints, handwriting and physical description do not match those of the suspect, he still faces extradition to a foreign country. What kind of democracy are we living in?”
Due to Canada’s extradition laws, it makes no difference that according to an Ontario judge, the evidence levelled against Dr. Diab is “confusing,” “weak,” and “suspect.” The request — however unreasonable — of a foreign country, takes priority over the rights of a Canadian citizen.
Dr Diab’s extradition is opposed by countless civil society organizations that support human rights. There is, however, one organization in particular that has been publicly supportive of Dr. Diab’s extradition: The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA).
“Independent Jewish Voices is deeply disturbed that the pro-Israel lobby group CIJA — which falsely claims to represent Canada’s diverse Jewish communities — has been supportive of Dr. Diab’s extradition,” says Shniad. “It is an affront to the Jewish tradition of support for universal human rights, including due process under the law, to support the extradition of a man accused of a crime despite the absence of any valid evidence against him.”
This decision directly follows the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Security Certificate process in the case of Mohamed Harkat.
“Canada’s treatment of Dr. Diab and Mr. Harkat are reflective of the same systemic flaws,” says Shniad. “Our government and judicial system are in the business of violating international law, demonizing Arabs and Muslims, and branding them terrorists while denying them the right to a fair trial. All those who believe in justice should be outraged. We should demand that Parliament intervene immediately to abolish Security Certificates and end unjust practices like the extradition proceedings against Dr. Diab.”
For more information contact:
Sid Shniad, Steering Committee member of Independent Jewish Voices – Canada
604-314-5589, ijv-vancouver AT ijvcanada.org
LETTER: Where's the Justice?posted on May 18, 2014 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink
Source: The Ottawa Citizen, letter to the editor
Date: May 17, 2014
Re: Harkat promises fight 'to the end,' May 16.
Where has my Canada gone now that Mohamed and his wife, Sophie, have lost their struggle for justice? As a result of secret trials where he saw neither the evidence nor his accuser, Harkat is to be deported to Algeria, where he may face possible torture and death.
Do we really feel safer because their battle for justice has been lost? Is democracy more secure in Canada because secret trials have been Ok'd? Or has democracy been sacrificed to the so-called "war" on terrorism? Oh Canada, my shameful chosen land.
© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen
Photos from May 14th, outside the Supreme Courtposted on May 18, 2014 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink
Click on the photo above to see more pics from the rally that morning.
Thank you to those dedicated supporters who came out on Wednesday morning to hold up our banners and let the world know that regardless of what 8 Supreme Court judges may think security certificates are not acceptable to Canadians. They are a blight on our reputation as a country that purports to stand for human rights. And they must be abolished.
Supreme Court rules against Harkat; deportation proceedings imminentposted on May 16, 2014 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink
Date: May 14, 2014
The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled the security certificate issued against accused al-Qaida sleeper agent and Ottawa resident Mohamed Harkat reasonable, making proceedings for his deporation imminent.
In a ruling issued Wednesday morning, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the controversial security certificate process.
The decision, issued by all eight Supreme Court judges, marks the end of the security certificate appeal process for Harkat, who has been fighting the government on this front for more than 12 years. It’s a worst-possible outcome for Harkat, who now faces deportation.
“The ruling is difficult to describe in words. It’s more than disappointing. It’s devastating for Mr. and Mrs. Harkat,” said Boxall. “This does bring an end to the security certificate proceedings, but I’m sure it doesn’t bring an end to Mr. Harkat’s right to clear his name and maintain his right to live here.”
Harkat and his wife Sophie first heard the news from Boxall Wednesday morning. While they were at the Supreme Court when the ruling was issued, they did not speak with reporters.
Harkat was born in Algeria and moved to Canada as a refugee in September 1995. The former pizza delivery man was arrested outside his Ottawa home in 2002 on a national security certificate. The security certificate regime allows the federal government to detain and deport non-citizens deemed security threats without presenting all evidence against them.
[ Read the rest ... ]
VIDEO: CBC's Power and Politics Talks With Mohamed and Sophieposted on May 16, 2014 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink
L'arrêt Harkat de la Cour suprême maintient un processus injuste pour les non-citoyensposted on May 15, 2014 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink
Date: 14 mai, 2014
Communiqué de presse: L'arrêt Harkat de la Cour suprême maintient un processus injuste pour les non-citoyens
14/05/2014 - La Coalition pour la surveillance internationale des libertés civiles (CSILC) et le Conseil canadien pour les réfugiés (CCR) sont déçus de la décision de la Cour suprême du Canada dans l'affaire Harkat qui maintient un processus fondamentalement injuste s'appuyant sur des preuves secrètes pour décider d'expulser un non-citoyen, potentiellement vers un risque de torture. Dans sa décision, la Cour suprême confirme la constitutionnalité du régime des certificats de sécurité, affirmant que les avocats spéciaux peuvent adéquatement compenser la non-divulgation aux personnes concernées de certaines preuves utilisées contre elles. La CSILC et le CCR regrettent que cette décision affirme l'inégalité de la protection des droits fondamentaux offerte aux non-citoyens. Lorsque ces droits sont en jeu pour les citoyens, comme dans les procédures pénales, nous ne tolérons pas l'utilisation de preuves secrètes. Les non-citoyens méritent une chance égale de connaître les preuves utilisées contre eux, et d'y répondre. La Cour ne s'est pas prononcée sur les aspects discriminatoires de ces dispositions. La Cour a également omis de se référer au droit international relatif aux droits humains, qui devrait servir de cadre essentiel pour le droit canadien.Lire plus
Press release: Supreme Court Harkat decision maintains fundamentally unfair process for non-citizens
La Cour suprême maintient le certificat de sécurité contre Harkat
Mohamed Harkat says he'll be tortured, killed if sent back to Algeria
Harkat «anéanti» par le jugement de la Cour suprême
Mohamed Harkat could remain in 'immigration limbo' for years
Globe editorial: Supreme Court comes close to squaring circle on security certificates
(c) International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group.
Supreme Court upholds security certificate law in Mohamed Harkat terror caseposted on May 14, 2014 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink
Source: The Toronto Star
Date: May 14, 2014
OTTAWA—The Supreme Court of Canada unanimously upheld revised security certificates laws Wednesday along with the use of secret evidence to deport foreign-born terrorism suspects as constitutional.
In doing so, the 8-0 decision also concluded a security certificate — a kind of special immigration warrant — issued against Algerian-born Mohamed Harkat is reasonable.
It is a major nod to the Conservative government’s 2008 redesign of the security certificates that brought in the use of security-cleared special advocates who have access to secret state evidence although they are not allowed to disclose that evidence to the defence.
However, it may not be the end of a long battle for Harkat, pegged by Canada’s security agencies as a suspected Al Qaeda sleeper agent.
For years, Ottawa has sought to deport Harkat insisting he is a threat.
But Harkat’s lawyers say Canada cannot deport anyone to face a risk of torture as they argue he would be in Algeria, and are expected to fight further efforts to remove him.
[ Read the rest ... ]