Photos From Ottawa Rally and Press Conference, Dec 10

posted on December 11, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

Thanks to Philippe Parent and others for taking these photos from Monday's 10th anniversary event in Ottawa. Dec 10, 2012, Ottawa
Click on image to see more photos from Monday's rally and visual presentation on Parliament Hill

Gabrielle at press conference, Dec 10, 2012
Click on image to see more photos from Monday's press conference.



Harkat marks 10th anniversary of arrest on International Human Rights Day

posted on December 11, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Michelle Zilio Source: iPolitics.ca URL: [link] Date: December 10, 2012 In 2002, Mohamed Harkat had many hopes for his future, including a modest home, kids and a “normal life” with his wife Sophie. He was working as a pizza delivery man and gas station cashier at the time. A decade later, Harkat is fighting to stay in Canada and avoid deportation. Ten years ago Monday, on International Human Rights Day, Harkat was arrested in Ottawa on a security certificate, a rarely-used removal instrument for non-citizens suspected of being spies or terrorists. He was jailed for 43 months followed by 3.5 years of the toughest bail and house arrest conditions in Canadian history. “Before I got arrested, we were planning to have a house, have kids, have normal life, and now it’s all up in the air,” said Harkat, an Algerian citizen who made his refugee claim in Canada in 1995. “Ten years later, I have been left in (the) dark.” While the government has suspicions of him being an al-Qaida sleeper agent, Harkat has consistently denied any links to terrorism. He is one of three men in Canada, all Muslims, who have appeared before the courts on a security certificate. Standing in the rain on Parliament Hill Monday morning, Harkat and approximately 20 supporters marked the 10th anniversary of his initial arrest. “It’s a sad day. It’s supposed to be celebrating human rights in Canada and justice for all. Ten years later, you see me fighting for something everybody has a right to — an open and fair trial,” said Harkat.



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Harkat defenders repeat call to end security certificates

posted on December 11, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by The Canadian Press Source: CBC News URL: [link] Date: December 10, 2012 Ottawa man arrested ten years ago still wears electronic tracking bracelet

[PHOTO: Mohamed Harkat participates in a rally Monday on Parliament Hill marking the tenth anniversary of his arrest and detention on a security certificate.] Human-rights advocates marked the 10th anniversary of Mohamed Harkat's arrest by calling for an end to national security certificates — the immigration tool used to detain the Algerian refugee. Hilary Homes of Amnesty International Canada says the security certificate regime should be replaced with one that guarantees a fair trial and ensures no evidence extracted through torture is allowed. Harkat, 44, was taken into custody Dec. 10, 2002, on suspicion of being an al-Qaida sleeper agent. The Ottawa man denies any involvement in terrorist activities. Security certificates have been used since 1991 to deport non-citizens accused of being terrorists or spies. Harkat lives at home with wife Sophie, but wears an electronic tracking bracelet on his ankle, must check in with authorities regularly and cannot leave town without permission. The person named in a security certificate receives only a summary of the case against them, which critics say makes a mockery of fundamental justice. Harkat's case has been bound up in various legal proceedings since the former pizza delivery man's arrest.


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Supreme Court to hear appeals from both sides in Harkat terrorism case

posted on November 22, 2012 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by The Canadian Press Source: CTV News URL: [link] Date: November 22, 2012 SCOC to hear appeals from both sides in Harkat terrorism case

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada will hear appeals from both parties in the terrorism case of Algerian refugee Mohamed Harkat. Harkat, 44, was arrested almost 10 years ago in Ottawa on suspicion of being an al-Qaida sleeper agent, but he denies any involvement in terrorist activities. The federal government wants to deport Harkat under a national security certificate, a rarely used tool for removing non-citizens suspected of being terrorists or spies. In April, the Federal Court of Appeal upheld the constitutionality of the security certificate system, but ruled that summaries of some mid-1990s conversations be excluded from evidence against Harkat because the Canadian Security Intelligence Service destroyed the original recordings. The ruling left both sides unhappy and each asked for a hearing in the Supreme Court -- an uncommon turn of events. As usual, the high court gave no reasons for its decision to hear the appeals. 2012 Bell Media All rights reserved.



Harkat case going back to Supreme Court

posted on November 22, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Andrew Duffy Source: The Ottawa Citizen URL: [link] Date: November 22, 2012 OTTAWA — Ten years after Mohamed Harkat was arrested in Ottawa as a terrorist suspect, his deportation case is headed back to the Supreme Court of Canada. The country’s highest court announced Thursday that it will hear an appeal in his case. It means the Harkat case will become the first to test the constitutionality of the federal government’s revised security certificate law. The first edition of that law, used to deport foreign-born terror suspects, was struck down by the high court in February 2007 as fundamentally unjust. That ruling overturned a judge’s finding that Harkat was a terrorist threat. Parliament rewrote the law to ensure defendants have more information about the case against them, and better legal representation during secret hearings. But Harkat’s lawyers contend Parliament did not do enough. Harkat, they say, remains in the dark about key details of the case due to the still secretive legal process. The government has been trying to deport the Algerian-born Harkat since December 2002, when he was arrested and jailed on the strength of a security certificate.



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High court to deliver latest twists in marathon Harkat terrorism case

posted on November 22, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Jim Bronskill (CP) Source: The Ottawa Citizen URL: [link] Date: November 21, 2012 OTTAWA - The long-running case of former pizza delivery man Mohamed Harkat — an Algerian refugee accused of terrorist links — will take another twist or two Thursday when the Supreme Court decides whether to hear appeals from each side. Harkat, 44, was arrested almost 10 years ago in Ottawa on suspicion of being an al-Qaida sleeper agent. He denies any involvement in terrorism. The federal government wants to deport Harkat under a national security certificate, a rarely used tool for removing non-citizens suspected of being terrorists or spies. He is one of three Muslim men whose certificate cases continue to grind through the courts. Harkat lives at home with wife Sophie, but wears an electronic tracking bracelet on his ankle, must check in with authorities regularly and cannot leave town without permission. "It's been a tremendous ordeal," said Norm Boxall, a lawyer for Harkat. "It's been a very long time." No matter how the Supreme Court of Canada rules, Harkat's legal saga is far from over.



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Ottawa expected UN pressure on anti-torture policy

posted on November 14, 2012 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

Source: The Canadian Press via CBC News URL: [link] Date: November 13, 2012 Newly released memos show Canada fully expected the intense grilling it got from a United Nations committee earlier this year about its international obligations to shun torture and other cruel treatment. Officials quietly advised Justice Minister Rob Nicholson the committee would "likely press Canada" on issues ranging from prison overcrowding to redress for people subjected to torture abroad. The federal government was also prepared to defend its refusal to arrest former U.S. leaders George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for alleged war crimes. In late May, a Canadian delegation presented Canada's latest report on compliance with the UN Convention Against Torture. Advisers also provided the minister with copies of the numerous talking points intended to help the delegation defend Canada's interests. The committee later issued a report criticizing several aspects of Canada's legal regime, including planned measures affecting refugee claimants and the continuing use of national security certificates to deport non-citizens. © The Canadian Press, 2012



Mohamed Harkat gets shot to clear himself at Supreme Court

posted on November 13, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Doug Hempstead, with files from Brigitte Pellerin Source: The Ottawa Sun URL: [link] Date: November 22, 2012 Elated that her husband will get a chance to argue his case before the Supreme Court, Sophie Harkat celebrated by baking cookies for her lawyers. The Supreme Court announced Thursday morning the successful appeal of Mohamed Harkat, an Algerian citizen suspected of having ties to terrorism who is challenging Canada’s system of security certificates. The couple got the news when Sophie saw it posted to the Supreme Court website. “I heard her screaming upstairs,” said Harkat. “But sometimes, she is screaming both sides — good news or bad.” Harkat, 44, arrived in Canada in 1995 and was granted refugee status in 1998. He was arrested outside his Ottawa home on Dec. 10, 2002 — accused of operating a safe house for Islamic extremists in Pakistan while he was still 19 and having associations with terrorist groups. He was jailed for three and a half years — including one year in solitary confinement. He was released on bail June 21, 2006. The government issued a security certificate against him and served with a notice of deportation in 2011.



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Mohamed Harkat case likely to head to Supreme Court, stretch into second decade

posted on November 10, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Andrew Duffy Source: The Ottawa Citizen URL: [link] Date: June 26, 2012 OTTAWA — Mohamed Harkat’s legal odyssey will move into its second decade this year as the Supreme Court considers whether to hear the latest appeals in his terrorism case. Both sides have now appealed elements of an April decision that struck down a judge’s finding that Harkat was a member of the al-Qaeda network. The government has been trying to deport the Algerian-born Harkat using the country’s security certificate law since December 2002 when he was arrested outside his Ottawa apartment building. Harkat, 43, has always maintained that he has no connection to al-Qaeda and will be tortured or killed if returned to Algeria. For 10 years, the case has bounced between the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Judges have twice deemed Harkat a terrorist and ordered him deported only to have their findings overturned by higher courts that found the legal process wanting. In April, the Federal Court of Appeal said Harkat’s right to fair trial had been compromised by the destruction of 13 wiretap recordings made by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) between 1996 and 1998. Written summaries of those conversations offered critical evidence against Harkat, but without the full, original recordings, defence lawyers said they had no way to challenge their context or accuracy. The appeal court agreed and ordered Judge Simon Noël to reconsider the case without the benefit of conversations in which Harkat did not take part. Noël had declared Harkat an active and dangerous member of al-Qaeda in December 2010. The same appeal court decision upheld the constitutionality of the government’s revised security certificate regime.



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A Letter to Minister Toews on the Use of Torture-tainted information

posted on September 12, 2012 | in Category Canada | PermaLink

by ICLMG and 10 civil society organizations Source: International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group URL: [link] Date: September 6, 2012 The Honourable Vic Toews, PC QC MP Minister of Public Safety House of Commons Ottawa, Canada K1A 0A6 Re: Use of Torture-tainted information 6 September 2012 Dear Minister Toews: We are writing to you today to express our opposition to the government's directives that would allow for the use of information that was likely extracted through torture. These directives are currently in the public spotlight following disclosure through an Access to Information request. It is important to note that Canada is a signatory to numerous international agreements including the Convention Against Torture, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the Convention on the Rights of the Child. All of these conventions emphasize the illegality of the use of torture and, as such, it is imperative that the Canadian government upholds its international obligations by unequivocally denying the right of any state to torture citizens or non-citizens. To accept/ share information from states where torture is known to occur would be to renege on these international commitments. Furthermore, it would send the wrong signal, implying that there is a "market" for such information. As such we urge the Canadian government to direct its various national security agencies including the RCMP, Canada Border Services Agency, and CSIS to discard information likely obtained through the violation of human rights and to refrain from sharing such information. In 2006, Justice Dennis O'Connor, in his Report of the Events Relating to Maher Arar, recommended policies that now appear to have been ignored. Specifically, recommendation 14 which stated, "Policies should include specific directions aimed at eliminating any possible Canadian complicity in torture, avoiding the risk of other human rights abuses and ensuring accountability." We, the undersigned, strongly believe that the Canadian government and its institutions are responsible for the safety and well-being of Canadians. However this duty must align itself with international agreements, and with Canada's own Charter obligations. The Government of Canada must condemn the use of torture, without caveats. Sincerely, Ihsaan Gardee Executive Director CAIR-CAN Roch Tassé National Coordinator International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group Gail Davidson Executive Director Lawyer's Rights Watch Canada Brent Patterson Political Director The Council of Canadians Dave Coles President Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada James L. Turk Executive Director Canadian Association of University Teachers Vincent Gogolek Executive Director BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association Carmen Cheung Senior Counsel BC Civil Liberties Association Nicole Filion Directrice générale Ligue des droits et libertés Warren Allmand, P.C., O.C.,Q.C. Carol Dixon Presiding Clerk Canadian Yearly Meeting-Religious Society of Friends(Quakers) Rita Morbia Executive Director Inter Pares



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