Harkat anniversary rally draws dozens

posted on December 11, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Danielle Bell Source: The Ottawa Sun URL: [link] Date: December 10, 2011 See also this VIDEO report of the Rally. By Danielle Bell. Even though courts recently ruled Mohamed Harkat does have ties to terrorism, his supporters are protesting his treatment on the 9th anniversary of his charges. Dozens of people gathered at the human rights monument in downtown Ottawa on Saturday to support Harket. Harkat, an accused al-Qaida sleeper agent who has been fighting to stay in Canada since he was arrested on a federal security certificate, declared his innocence to a throng of supporters and media. Flanked by wife Sophie, Harkat said the conditions he is forced to live with have taken a toll on himself and family. “It’s my life destroyed completely,” said Harkat on Saturday. “I’ve never chatted to a criminal, I’ve never had a criminal record, I’ve never been involved with terrorism, I’ve never seen the evidence against me.” Among his conditions, Harkat cannot use the Internet, is monitored by GPS and cannot leave Ottawa without permission. An online petition in his support has gathered about 5,000 signatures. “It’s simply impossible for people like Mohamed Harkat to have a fair trial when secret evidence is involved,” said supporter Evert Hoogers, a retired postal worker. “None of that is acceptable to me.” Several speakers, including human rights activists, spoke at the rally, which included chants and banners in support Harkat. An unidentified man stood next to the Harkats, with his mouth duct-taped, hands bound and blindfolded. “This war on terrorism has been a direct attack on each and every human citizen’s human rights,” said Larry Rousseau, regional vice-president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. “If we sit back and do nothing, we will lose what we have acquired.” In December 2009, Harkat’s security certificate was upheld by a Federal Court Judge, who ruled the government had reasonable grounds to suspect Harkat of being a threat to Canadian public safety. Kevin Skerrett, with the Justice for Mohamed Harket committee, hopes awareness will further the cause. “I think as more people learn of the details of this, the more outraged they are,” said Skerrett. Harkat is appealing his case and looking forward to a court date in February. He said Saturday he is willing to take his case all the way to the Supreme Court. “Justice is delayed. That’s all I’m hoping for,” said Harket. “I’m innocent. That’s all I want, just an open trial like anybody else.” danielle.bell AT sunmedia.ca @DBellReporting Copyright © 2011 Sunmedia. All rights reserved.

Dozens rally to clear Mohamed Harkat's name

posted on December 11, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

Source: CTV Ottawa URL: [link] Date: December 10, 2011 An Ottawa man is still trying to clear his name after terror-related allegations surfaced nine years ago. Mohamed Harkat continued to deny allegations that he is an Al-Qaeda sleeper agent at a rally in Ottawa Saturday afternoon. Dozens of supporters gathered at the Human Rights Monument at the corner of Elgin and Lisgar to help draw attention to Harkat's goal. "I'm going to fight until my last breath to clear my name and to have an open and fair trial," said Harkat. Harkat says he is a refugee who fled Algeria and that he would be tortured if forced to return to his homeland. The arrest took place on Dec. 10, 2002 under a Security Certificate which allows for detention without charge. A notice sent to CTV Ottawa says Harkat has never been "afforded the opportunity to counter the allegations ... because the vast majority of the crown's case remains a secret." Due to the allegations, Harkat faces deportation and continues his fight to stay in Canada. His case will be heard by the Federal Court of Appeal in February. © 2011 CTV All rights reserved.

La détention de Mohamed Harkat dénoncée à Ottawa

posted on December 10, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

par La Presse Canadienne Source: La Presse URL: [link] Date: 10 décembre 2011 Ottawa - Des membres de différents organismes de défense des droits humains, Amnistie Internationale en tête, étaient réunis à Ottawa, samedi, pour souligner le 9e anniversaire de l'arrestation de Mohamed Harkat, survenue le 10 décembre 2002. Mohamed Harkat est l'un des trois hommes encore détenus au Canada en vertu d'un certificat de sécurité. Cette procédure juridique permet de détenir une personne pour une durée indéterminée sans accusation et sans accès à la preuve. Le Comité justice pour Mohamed Harkat soutient que les hommes ciblés par ces certificats n'ont jamais eu l'occasion de réfuter les allégations portées contre eux puisque le gouvernement garde presque toute la preuve secrète. Une manifestation s'est tenue samedi, à midi devant le Monument des droits humains à Ottawa. Christian Legeais, porte-parole du Comité justice pour Mohamed Harkat, fait partie de l'organisation de ce rassemblement. Il estime que la procédure appliquée contre l'accusé est inconstitutionnelle. Les manifestants ont profité de la Journée internationale des droits humains, pour dénoncer cette façon de faire, qui repose selon eux sur des documents obtenus sous la torture et dont les matériaux d'origine (notes, entrevues, transcriptions) ont été détruits. L'accusé fait également face à une menace de déportation vers l'Algérie, en vertu d'un jugement de la cour fédérale tombé en décembre 2010. Cette décision a été portée en appel et doit être entendue en février. M.Legeais se montre peu optimiste. «Il n'y a pas de fait, qu'il n'y a que des allégations, comment voulez-vous que l'on soit optimiste? Ça ne repose sur rien», estime-t-il. Assigné à résidence en juin 2006, après un emprisonnement de 43 mois, Mohamed Harkat porte encore un appareil GPS à la cheville et doit observer de nombreuses restrictions, mais clame toujours son innocence. © La Presse, ltée. Tous droits réservés.

OP-ED: A zero-tolerance policy on torture

posted on December 07, 2011 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

by Alex Neve
Source: The National Post
URL: [link]
Date: December 7, 2011

Canada abhors torture. We support all efforts to abolish it and to punish torturers. We insist that our policing and security agencies have nothing to do with it. That’s Canada’s public line. Yet every time we seem to reaffirm these fundamental principles, a loophole always presents itself involving the words “national security.”

The most recent disturbing example involves a 2008 memo from former CSIS director James Judd to then-minister of public safety Stockwell Day that has just come to light. In that document, Mr. Judd objected to a law-reform initiative spearheaded at the time by Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh. As part of a court-ordered overhaul of the immigration security-certificate process, Mr. Dosanjh had proposed a measure to keep evidence that might have been the result of torture out of security-certificate proceedings. The amendment passed, clarifying the principle that when there are reasonable grounds to believe that information had been obtained by torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, it cannot be used.

It actually wasn’t all that ground-breaking. It essentially confirmed existing international and Canadian legal prohibitions. The UN Convention against Torture, ratified by Canada more than 25 years ago, makes it clear that the only time evidence obtained under torture can be used in court is when the torturer himself is the one on trial. But it was necessary to have the principle laid out explicitly with respect to security certificates.

But the issue keeps coming up. Yes, torture is bad. But what if it will help us catch a terrorist, crack a sleeper cell or thwart a terrorist attack? What if taking a strong stand against it makes it more difficult to co-operate with countries where torture is rampant?

[ Read the rest ... ]

CSIS 'has been lying to us for years'

posted on December 06, 2011 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

By Marion Scott
Source: The Montreal Gazaette
URL: [link]
Date: December 5, 2011

[PHOTO: Former CSIS director Jim Judd issued a "secret" memo while at the helm of the spy agency April 15, 2000, stating the terrorism threat in Canada had not been exaggerated.}

MONTREAL - Advocates for five men arrested under security certificates said they were stunned to learn from a Gazette report that Canada’s spy agency believed cases against them could fall apart if it could not use information obtained by torture.

On Saturday, The Gazette revealed that in 2008, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) warned the minister of public security that it could become impossible to use security certificates to arrest and deport suspected terrorists if it was prohibited from using information from regimes known to use torture.

In a letter obtained by The Gazette, former CSIS director Jim Judd warned that a proposed bill then before Parliament “could render unsustainable the current security certificate proceedings.” A security certificate is a means by which the government may detain and deport non-citizens perceived as a threat to national security.

The letter calls into question CSIS’s assurances that it did not countenance the use of torture.

[ Read the rest ... ]

Looking for change in Harkat’s case after leak

posted on December 06, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Jessica Smith Source: Metronews Ottawa URL: [link] Date: December 5, 2011 Leaked memo questioned security certificates’ viability if torture info inadmissible Security certificates let government detain without trial

Supporters of an Ottawa man accused of being an al-Qaeda sleeper agent hope a leaked memo about torture will prompt change in his case and the security certificate system. A Jan. 15, 2008 letter was sent by former CSIS head Jim Judd to the public security minister as the government worked to amend a security-certificate law struck down by the courts, according to the Montreal Gazette, which obtained the letter. Judd wrote that amending the law to keep courts from using information from countries where there’s “reasonable grounds” to believe torture is used would “significantly hinder” the security-certificate program, according to the Gazette. Making information derived from torture inadmissible would “render (the security-certificate program) unsustainable.” But the law was amended. Matthew Webber, lawyer for security-certificate detainee Mohamed Harkat, said he wants to know why that hasn’t led to the collapse of any of the security-certificate cases. “If Judd was saying this to the government back in 2008, one cannot help but conclude that, in at least one, if not more, of the cases, there was reliance on evidence obtained by torture or derivative of torture,” he said. His client Mohamed Harkat was arrested in 2002 in Ottawa and detained on a security certificate. Harkat was released from detention to strict house arrest in 2006. His security certificate alleges he had ties to “the bin Laden network” and that there “are reasonable grounds to believe (he) has engaged or will engage in terrorism,” according to court documents. Copyright 2001-2011, Free Daily News Group Inc.

Mohamed Harkat: 9 ans sans justice

posted on December 05, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

par "Communiqué" Source: Coalition Justice pour Adil Charkaoui, Campagne pour arrêter les procès secrets au Canada, Comité Justice pour Mohamed Harkat Date: 5 décembre, 2011 Communiqué

Des hommes détenus en vertu de certificats de sécurité de l'immigration outrés d'apprendre que le SCRS et des hauts responsables du gouvernement savaient que leurs dossiers étaient basés sur la torture Toronto/Montréal/Ottawa, 5 décembre 2011 – Plusieurs hommes dont les vies ont été chamboulées quand ils ont été étiquetés comme terroristes et arrêtés comme des menaces à la sécurité nationale ont été choqués d'apprendre samedi que le SCRS savait lui-même que les dossiers contre eux tomberaient si le SCRS n'avait pas le droit d'utiliser des preuves obtenues sous la torture. Cette admission ahurissante était contenue dans un mémo secret envoyée par l'ancien chef du SCRS Jim Judd à l'ancien ministre de la Sécurité publique Stockwell Day en janvier 2008. Post media a rendu le contenu de ce mémo public samedi. « C'est incroyable. Le SCRS nous a menti durant des années! Mais je ne sais pas ce qui est pire: la position du SCRS ou le fait que des hauts responsables comme Stockwell Day étaient au courant mais ont continué et signé les nouveaux certificats contre nous quand-même, endossant effectivement l'usage de la torture et nous condamnant à plusieurs années de plus de détention arbitraire, » a déclaré Adil Charkaoui. Charkaoui est un professeur montréalais et père de quatre enfants qui a gagné deux fois en Cour Suprême et a finalement été libéré en 2009. Il tente actuellement d'obtenir des excuses du gouvernement à travers des procédures judiciaires. Malgré sa propre analyse comme quoi les dossiers ne répondaient pas aux normes légales canadiennes, introduites en février 2008, le service a conseillé au ministre Day d'émettre les certificats. Day a accepté. « Ça me rend vraiment malade de penser que pendant que j'étais détenu en isolement pour des allégations secrètes durant près de huit années, le chef du SCRS savait que mon dossier, ainsi que les dossiers des autres hommes détenus en vertu des certificats de sécurité, étaient complètement sans fondement, parce qu'ils étaient probablement basés sur des renseignements obtenus sous la torture, » a dit Hassan Almrei, un homme de Toronto qui a finalement été blanchi des allégations contre lui en 2009. « Une fois de plus, nous voyons que le SCRS utilise le secret pour couvrir ce qui est non seulement embarrassant politiquement, mais aussi clairement illégal et immoral, » ajoute M. Almrei. Un autre mémo gouvernemental secret de 2003, rendu public durant l'enquête Arar, montre que les responsables du gouvernement savaient qu'il était impossible d'accuser M. Almrei au criminel faute de preuve contre lui. Parmi les responsables qui ont reçu le mémo de Jim Judd, il y a Richard Fadden, qui a depuis remplacé Judd comme chef du SCRS. Fadden supervise les procédures actuelles des certificats de sécurité. « Nos vies ont été chamboulées au nom de la sécurité nationale. Tout ce que nous voulons est que la vérité sorte et la seule façon d'y arriver c'est de tout rendre public pour que tous les Canadiens puissent le voir. Il n'y a pas de transparence sous le régime des certificats de sécurité et chaque fois que quelque chose comme ça est rendu public, le SCRS ne reçoit qu'une tape sur les doigts. Entretemps, nous payons le prix avec nos vies et notre liberté. C'est très troublant, mais ce n'est pas la première fois qu'ils nous cachent la vérité, » déclare Sophie Lamarche Harkat, qui est mariée à Mohamed Harkat. M. Harkat, accepté au Canada comme réfugié, lutte pour se libérer d'un certificat de sécurité depuis le 10 décembre 2002. Il est détenu à domicile à Ottawa. Deux autres hommes, tous les deux basés à Toronto, continuent aussi à lutter pour leur liberté et pour laver leurs noms des allégations basées sur la torture. Le directeur d'école Mahmoud Jaballah, qui a survécu à la torture en Égypte, a été arrêté une première fois en 1999 et est devenu le premier détenu des certificats de sécurité à être libéré par la Cour fédérale. Mais il a été ré-arrêté en 2001, malgré le fait que le SCRS a reconnu qu'il n'avait pas de nouvelles preuves contre lui, seulement une « nouvelle interprétation » des informations qui avaient déjà été rejetées. Après plusieurs années d'emprisonnement, il est toujours détenu à domicile. Mohammad Mahjoub, un père de deux enfants, a été arrêté en juin 2000. Il comparaîtra en cour à Toronto cette semaine pour argumenter qu'il devrait être libéré des conditions de détention à domicile qui contrôlent tous les détails de sa vie. Lui aussi a survécu à la torture en Égypte. Mahjoub a passé plus de huit années derrière les barreaux sans accusations et trois ans sous des mesures draconiennes de détention à domicile. Ses avocats vont démontrer que la poursuite de sa détention à domicile est illégale. -30- Pour des entrevues: 514 222 0205 (fr ou an) ou 647-668-8445 (an) Plus d'information: www.adilinfo.org www.justiceforharkat.com www.commissionpopulaire.org/fr/mahjoub Source: Coalition Justice pour Adil Charkaoui Campagne pour arrêter les procès secrets au Canada Comité Justice pour Mohamed Harkat

Men arrested under security certificates shocked by CSIS torture allegations

posted on December 05, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Marian Scott, Postmedia
Source: The National Post
URL: [link]
Date: December 5, 2011

MONTREAL — Advocates for five men arrested under security certificates said they were stunned to learn that Canada’s spy agency believed cases against them could fall apart if it could not use information obtained by torture.

On Saturday, the Montreal Gazette revealed that in 2008, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) warned the minister of public security that it could become impossible to use security certificates to arrest and deport suspected terrorists if it was prohibited from using information from foreign regimes known to use torture.

In a letter obtained by the Montreal Gazette, former CSIS director Jim Judd warned that a proposed bill then before Parliament “could render unsustainable the current security certificate proceedings.” A security certificate is a means by which the government may detain and deport non-citizens perceived as a threat to national security.

The letter calls into question CSIS’s assurances that it did not countenance the use of torture abroad.

[ Read the rest ... ]

CSIS head urged government to fight ban on information obtained through torture

posted on December 04, 2011 | in Category CSIS | PermaLink

by Catherine Solymon
Source: The Montreal Gazette
URL: [link]
Date: December 3, 2011


MONTREAL — Canada's spy agency was so reliant on information obtained through torture that it suggested the whole security certificate regime, used to control suspected terrorists in the country, would fall apart if they couldn't use it.

That's the essence of a letter written in 2008 by the former director of CSIS, Jim Judd, obtained by the Montreal Gazette.

It suggests a disturbing acceptance by the national security agency of torture as a legitimate strategy to counter terrorism.

The letter, dated Jan. 15, 2008, was sent from Judd to the minister of public security just as the government was finalizing Bill C-3, legislation to replace the security certificates law which was struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional in February 2007.

The government had been given a year to come up with new legislation that would respect the charter rights of those targeted by the certificates.

In the letter, Judd urges the minister to fight an amendment to C-3 proposed by Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh that would prohibit CSIS and the courts from using any information obtained from torture or "derivative information" — information initially obtained from torture but subsequently corroborated through legal means.

[ Read the rest ... ]

Mohamed Harkat: 9 Years and Counting

posted on November 17, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

Friends, December 10th, 2011 will mark the 9th anniversary of my husband Moe's arrest under a Security Certificate which allows for detention without charge, without access to the evidence under the presumed rationale of "national security." Moe spent 43 months in jail - one of those years in solitary confinement - and was finally released in June of 2006, but upon release he was forced to bear the burden of the toughest bail conditions in Canadian history. Today, he still wears a GPS device on his ankle at all times and has numerous restrictions on his movements. Because of the unjust decision to uphold Moe's security certificate in December 2010, he now faces deportation to Algeria where he's at great risk of imprisonment, torture or death. After nine long years of fighting for justice, it gets harder and harder to fundraise and gather support every year. Many think the case is over and done with. That is so far from the truth! We are heading back to the Federal Court of Appeal on February 21st, 2012 and hopefully, with your support, back to the Supreme Court of Canada. I'm writing to you because we need your financial support, but I know there are many good causes out there that also need your help! If you have already donated, thank you for your generosity and solidarity. Please support our work if you can. Help with our campaign expenses, support our legal and political research, consider making a small donation to support travel and other related expenses. Our work is not done yet. Donations are always needed. Make your cheque/money order payable to: "Justice for Mohamed Harkat Committee" Mailing Address: 14 Perkins Street, Ottawa, ON, K1R 7G5 Once your donation is in the mail, please confirm by email at: [email]

Also, since my last email asking you to forward our petition far and wide, only 400 new supporters have endorsed our statement. That is not enough considering the great number of individuals who oppose Secret Trials in Canada. I hope we can reach at least 5000 signatures by Moe's 9th anniversary. With your help, I know we can do it. Public pressure is essential to our fight. Please ask everyone you know to sign. Pass on this email to all of your online contacts - email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. If you have a blog or a web site please consider writing about our campaign and spreading the word. Ask your family, friends, co-workers, local, group, committee, others to endorse. Don't stop it here, please forward to others! Thank you for your continued support and time. May justice prevail!

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