Harkat craint la torture s'il est renvoyé en Algérie, dit Amnistie

posted on December 11, 2015 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

par Jim Bronskill Source: La Presse URL: [link] Date: 10 décembre 2015 Amnistie internationale a affirmé, jeudi, que Mohamed Harkat risquait d'être gravement maltraité s'il était renvoyé dans son Algérie natale et a exhorté le gouvernement du premier ministre Justin Trudeau à interrompre le processus de déportation. M. Harkat, un ancien livreur de pizza résidant à Ottawa, a été arrêté il y a 13 ans parce que les autorités le soupçonnaient d'être un agent dormant d'Al-Qaïda, une accusation qu'il dément. Le fédéral a depuis tenté d'expulser le réfugié algérien en vertu d'un certificat de sécurité, une procédure de la loi sur l'immigration rarement utilisée permettant d'expulser du Canada de présumés terroristes ou espions ne possédant pas la citoyenneté canadienne. L'homme âgé de 47 ans craint d'être torturé s'il est forcé de quitter le Canada. «J'adore ce pays et je suis venu ici pour avoir une meilleure existence, a-t-il déclaré durant une conférence de presse, jeudi. Je veux retrouver ma vie.» Selon Hilary Homes d'Amnistie internationale Canada, M. Harkat pourrait être jeté en prison à son retour en Algérie sans possibilité de communiquer avec ses proches, un avocat ou un médecin indépendant, ce qui est contraire au droit international en matière des droits de la personne. Mme Homes a soutenu que les individus soupçonnés d'avoir des liens avec des organisations terroristes étaient souvent détenus par les forces de sécurité algériennes et coupés du monde extérieur, parfois pendant de longues périodes. En outre, les tribunaux algériens acceptent encore les confessions obtenues sous la torture ou par la force, ce qui mène à la tenue de procès qui ne sont pas équitables, a-t-elle ajouté. «Dans la loi comme dans la pratique, l'Algérie ne dispose pas de mécanismes efficaces pour protéger les personnes détenues de la torture ou des mauvais traitements et les forces de sécurité continuent à torturer ou à maltraiter les prisonniers en toute impunité», a fait valoir Hilary Homes durant la conférence de presse. «Il est temps pour le Canada de prendre la bonne décision et de cesser d'essayer de déporter Mohamed Harkat.» Les avocats de M. Harkat martèlent depuis longtemps que la procédure relative aux certificats de sécurité est injuste parce que la personne visée n'a jamais accès à l'ensemble de la preuve déposée contre elle. La Cour suprême du Canada a maintenu le certificat contre Mohamed Harkat l'an dernier et le gouvernement a amorcé les démarches pour le déporter. Amnistie craint que le fédéral ne se base sur les promesses du gouvernement algérien de garantir la sécurité de M. Harkat pour décider de le renvoyer ou non. «Les promesses de gouvernements ne respectant pas les droits de la personne ne sont pas fiables et ne garantissent pas que l'individu concerné ne sera pas torturé ou maltraité», a conclu Mme Homes. © La Presse, ltée. Tous droits réservés.


ICLMG: Mohamed Harkat’s deportation should be stopped immediately

posted on December 11, 2015 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Press Release Source: The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) URL: [link] Date: December 10, 2015 The ICLMG read the following statement today at a press conference on Parliament Hill alongside Mohamed Harkat and his lawyer, the Justice for Mohamed Harkat collective, and two of our member organizations, Amnesty International and the National Council of Canadian Muslims. Last August 2015, the federal government launched deportation proceedings against Mohamed Harkat, exactly 20 years after he first arrived to Canada and claimed the refugee status. Mohamed Harkat was arrested on December 10, 2002 – exactly 13 years ago – under a security certificate, and since he has been in a legal limbo. He stayed three years in jail, some of them in Guantanamo North, the 3.2 million dollar prison built specially for Muslim detainees. After he was released, he was subjected to the strictest conditions of house arrest. His wife, Sophie Lamarche, became his “unofficial” jailer at home, thus losing what remained of their privacy. For many years, he had to wear an electronic tracking bracelet to monitor all his movements. In May 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the government security certificate regime and found that the security certificate against Mohamed Harkat was reasonable. However, the Supreme Court reminded the judges operating under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that they should be “interventionist”, and clearly stated that the government couldn’t proceed with a security certificate case unless the suspect is reasonably informed of the case against them to ensure their defence. Unfortunately, today, we haven’t seen any steps taken by the government towards allowing suspects to access the secret evidence, if any, against them. On the contrary, Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act passed in June 2015, reinforced the use of secrecy even in the cases involving Canadian citizens and has lowered the threshold and expanded the grounds for preventative arrest. This deportation decision would be the first step towards the removal of Mohamed Harkat from his peaceful life in Canada to torture and very likely disappearance and execution. Before being sent to torture, an assessment of the potential danger to Canadians posed by Harkat needs to be done. But realistically, what is the threat posed today by Mohamed Harkat? The Supreme Court has ruled in the past that terror suspects can only be deported in “exceptional circumstances” to countries where they face a substantial risk of torture, but it has not defined the full meaning of that concept. According to many human right organizations, like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, Algeria is still considered to be a country where grave violations of human rights are common. Can Canada really accept in good conscience the diplomatic assurances that would be given to deport Mohamed Harkat to Algeria? We do not believe it can. Today, we ask the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, to immediately stop the deportation procedures against Mohamed Harkat. And we add: does this government want to be remembered for sending a refugee back to torture or execution? ICLMG believes that Mohamed Harkat should be allowed to stay in Canada with his wife. After more than a decade of legal fights, secrecy, physical and emotional distress, it is time to give Mohamed his rights and his life back. Thank you. Copyright © 2015 International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group


The Liberals and the Charter: don’t deport Harkat to torture

posted on October 27, 2015 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by Chantal Sundaram Source: International Socialists URL: [link] Date: October 27, 2015 It is not a coincidence that Mohamed Harkat received his deportation papers in the middle of the federal election campaign. Though it may have been eclipsed by the niqab debate, the affidavit for Harkat`s deportation to Algeria, and most certainly to torture, was yet another indication of Harper`s deliberate stoking of Islamophobia. The deportation is the consequence of a “Security Certificate,” under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which allows for the imprisonment in Canada of refugees and permanent residents without charge. Security Certificates allow for secret trials in which evidence is not disclosed to the detainees or their lawyers, and the full right to appeal is denied in a process that uses the lowest standard of proof of any court in Canada. And, they allow the ultimate injustice: deportation without charge to unfair imprisonment, torture or death. But on October 19, voters sent a strong signal that they reject the overt Islamophobia and warmongering of the Tories. The Liberal withdrawal of Canada`s fighter jets from the Iraq-Syria mission was the first follow-through on that election mandate. The public sentiment demonstrated in the election is also a new opportunity to relaunch a movement to defend and regain civil liberties in this country. But it will take public support and pressure to push the Liberals on this front. They voted for Bill C-51, and did not condemn last year’s second Supreme Court of Canada decision that deemed Security Certificates "imperfect," and secret hearings "uncomfortable," but still constitutional.



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Government launches deportation proceedings against Harkat

posted on September 22, 2015 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Andrew Duffy Source: The Ottawa Citizen URL: [link] Date: September 18, 2015 The federal government has launched deportation proceedings against Algerian-born terror suspect Mohamed Harkat 20 years after he first arrived in Ottawa as a refugee claimant. The case had been dormant for more than a year — ever since the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the government’s security certificate regime and affirmed a decision that found Harkat to be an active member of the al-Qaeda terrorist network. But for reasons that remain unexplained, the government took no action against Harkat for 15 months after its court victory. A spokesperson for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) said Friday she would “not speak to specific cases.” Late last month, almost four weeks into the federal election campaign, Harkat received an official letter from the CBSA informing him that the first step in his deportation process had begun. “He was totally devastated,” Harkat’s wife, Sophie, said in an interview. “That big grey cloud he’s had over his head for 13 years, it just got a lot darker.” Harkat said her husband had hoped the government wouldn’t pursue his deportation. “How big a threat can he be if they wait 15 months to issue this letter?” Two years ago, an electronic tracking bracelet was removed from Harkat’s leg and his release conditions relaxed to allow him to travel outside of Ottawa, use a mobile phone and an Internet-connected computer. Monia Mazigh, national co-ordinator of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, said the move to deport Harkat comes at an odd time: with an election in full swing and with no certainty about what party will form the next government. “We see this as a very, very dangerous move,” said Mazigh, who argued that Canada should not deport someone if there is even the slightest possibility that they will be mistreated or tortured. Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada, said returning Harkat to Algeria would put him at serious risk of being placed under “incommunicado detention,” a situation in which prisoners are denied access to family, lawyers and physicians. Amnesty, he said, has documented numerous cases of terror suspects being held for prolonged periods under such conditions, putting them at increased risk of torture. Harkat, 47, was first arrested on the strength of a security certificate in December 2002. He spent more than three years in jail and another seven years under strict house arrest during a legal odyssey that twice saw his case go the Supreme Court. The deportation process promises to raise more difficult legal issues. The first step involves an assessment of the danger that Harkat poses to Canadians. A government official appointed by Immigration Minister Chris Alexander will have to determine whether Harkat remains a serious threat to national security given his public profile, the passage of time and other factors. If the minister’s delegate concludes such a risk exists, the official must then assess what kind of torture risk Harkat would face if returned to Algeria, and whether the government can rely on diplomatic assurances that he won’t be mistreated. Those two risk assessments would then be weighed against one another to arrive at a deportation decision. The Supreme Court has already ruled that terror suspects can only be deported in “exceptional circumstances” to countries where they face a substantial risk of torture, but it has not defined the full meaning of that concept. Harkat arrived in Ottawa as a refugee in September 1995 after living in Pakistan for five years. Before his arrest, Harkat worked as a pizza delivery man and gas station attendant while also developing an expensive casino gambling habit. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) built a case against him based on 13 wiretapped phone conversations recorded between 1996 and 1998, and at least two unnamed informants, one of whom failed a CSIS lie-detector test. In 2009, CSIS issued a threat assessment report that suggested Harkat had played a mostly logistical role for jihadists and did not engage in acts of violence. It concluded that his threat to Canadians had diminished over time but not disappeared. © 2015 Postmedia Network Inc. All rights reserved.



ICLMG joins other rights groups to denounce the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act as discriminatory and anti-Canadian

posted on August 20, 2015 | in Category Canada's Immigration Policy | PermaLink

by Press Release Source: ICLMG URL: [link] Date: August 20, 2015 Toronto, August 20, 2015 - The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) is joining its voice to the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL) to denounce the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act (formerly Bill C-24) as unconstitutional and anti-Canadian. BCCLA and CARL have launched a constitutional challenge to the new Citizenship Act, a federal law relegating over one million Canadians to second-class status. The lawsuit argues that the new Citizenship Act, in force since the passage of Bill C-24, creates a two-tier citizenship regime that discriminates against dual nationals, whether born abroad or in Canada, and naturalized citizens. These Canadians will now have more limited citizenship rights compared to other Canadians, simply because they or their parents or ancestors were born in another country. Under the new law, these Canadians could see their citizenship taken away if convicted of certain serious crimes in Canada or abroad (including in a country that does not have due process or rule of law). New Canadians who became citizens after the passage of Bill C-24 could also lose their citizenship if they move abroad for work, school, or family reasons. Other Canadians would not be vulnerable to losing their citizenship. "The ICLMG opposed Bill C-24 since it was tabled in Parliament" said Monia Mazigh, National Coordinator of the ICLMG. "The Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act is a step backward for our democracy and rule of law principle. With this new Citizenship Act, Canadians are divided into two classes: those who will keep their Canadian citizenship no matter what and those who can be stripped of their Canadian citizenship if some federal bureaucrats decide so. Thus, if you are born in Canada but you have parents or ancestors from another country, your Canadian citizenship is worth less. It can be revoked not by the court but by the government and this is unacceptable by any democratic standards." Despite the public outcry, the criticisms and concerns formulated by legal experts, academics and media commentators, Bill C-24 became law. "The ICLMG is really happy to support this constitutional challenge and to send a strong message that the Canadian citizenship should have the same meaning for all Canadians regardless of their genetic background." - 30 - For more information about the legal challenge, contact: Sarbjit Kaur, Kaur Communications 416-274-5324, [email] For more information about the ICLMG, contact: Anne Dagenais Guertin, Communications and Research Coordinator 613-241-5298 ext. 2, [email]


CSIS relied on no-torture 'assurances' from foreign agencies, memo reveals

posted on July 06, 2015 | in Category CSIS | PermaLink

by Jim Bronskill (CP) Source: The Canadian Press & CBC News URL: [link] Date: Jul 03, 2015 Csis

CSIS bound by federal policy on sharing information with foreign groups

Newly released memos show Canada's spy agency revealed its interest in people to foreign partners in two cases after receiving assurances the individuals would not be tortured — a practice human rights advocates say shirks the law and puts vulnerable detainees at risk. In one case, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service got the green light from a high-level internal committee to interview a Canadian detained abroad as long as captors gave "proper assurances" the person would not be abused, the CSIS documents say. In another case, the spy service received the go-ahead to send information to an allied agency about a terrorist target of mutual interest if such "assurances" were provided, the internal CSIS memos reveal. The two cases were among 10 instances in which the CSIS information sharing evaluation committee applied a ministerial directive on the use and sharing of information that may have been tainted by torture or could give rise to someone being brutalized in an overseas prison cell. The Canadian Press used the Access to Information Act to obtain CSIS notes outlining the 10 cases — with names and other identifying details stripped out — as well as a spring 2014 memo to spy service director Michel Coulombe. The two cases in which CSIS sought promises that individuals would not be abused raise "a red flag," said Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada, who called the practice an end-run around international legal obligations. Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada, says it is not reliable for CSIS to rely on assurances from foreign parties that individuals of interest will not be tortured. "That's always problematic from a human-rights perspective," he said in an interview. "It's not reliable. And we have been deeply concerned about the ways in which governments around the world have been increasingly relying on assurances." Many western governments have resorted to the use of "diplomatic assurances" to circumvent their obligations under international law, said Ottawa human-rights lawyer Paul Champ. Not adequate protection

Courts and United Nations bodies have held — and, more tragically, experience has confirmed — that assurances are not adequate protection against torture and should not be used as an excuse for practices that might contribute to abuse, he said. "Canada's own experience in Afghanistan amply demonstrated that repeated assurances from the Afghan government did not stop Canadian-transferred detainees from being tortured." CSIS spokeswoman Tahera Mufti said the agency was "very cognizant" of its legal and ethical obligations in sharing information. "We are very careful to ensure that everything we do to keep Canadians safe is consistent not just with Canadian law but Canadian values." The federal policy on foreign information-sharing, ushered in by the Conservative government, has been roundly criticized by human-rights advocates and opposition politicians who say it effectively condones torture, contrary to international law and Canada's UN commitments. A four-page 2010 framework document, previously released under the access law, says when there is a "substantial risk" that sending information to, or soliciting information from, a foreign agency would result in torture — and it is unclear whether the risk can be managed through assurances or other means — the matter should be referred to the responsible deputy minister or agency head. In deciding what to do, the agency head will consider factors including the threat to Canada's national security and the nature and imminence of the threat; the status of Canada's relationship with — and the human rights record of — the foreign agency; and the rationale for believing that sharing the information would lead to torture. In one of the 10 CSIS cases, just such a scenario emerged: a two-fold CSIS request to check with foreign agencies about a Canadian target and to interview a foreign national detained abroad with knowledge of the target was referred to the CSIS director for a final decision when the committee ruled the request could well lead to someone being tortured. In the end, there was no need for the CSIS director to make the decision, as the information was acquired through other means with no perceived risk of mistreatment. CSIS, the RCMP, the Canada Border Services Agency, National Defence and the Communications Security Establishment, Canada's electronic spy agency, are bound by the federal policy on sharing information with foreign agencies. The newly released notes discuss formal risk assessments carried out by the Mounties in 2013-14 that led to rejection of all five requests from police investigators to send or receive information. In one RCMP case, a request to interview a Canadian held in a foreign prison was denied due to the assessment that detainees face a risk of torture and other degrading abuse in order to extract confessions. © The Canadian Press, 2015 Copyright © CBC 2015


OTTAWA: Bill C51 Opponents March Through Byward Market

posted on April 21, 2015 | in Category Bill C-51 | PermaLink

by Jesse Winter Source: The Ottawa Citizen URL: [link] Date: April 19, 2015

Opponents of the federal government’s proposed anti-terrorism legislation brought a second round of protests to Ottawa and other Canadian cities Saturday, and an organizer said an online petition calling for the bill to be scrapped is nearing 200,000 signatures. “We haven’t really seen anything like this in years. It’s remarkable,” said David Christopher, a spokesman with OpenMedia.org, one of the groups behind the petition. Several dozen protesters gathered outside the prime minister’s offices on Wellington Street and marched through the ByWard Market to the U.S. Embassy. Similar rallies were planned in as many as 30 cities, organizers said. In March, more than 300 people protested the anti-terrorism bill in Ottawa. “The U.S. is symbolic of this kind of anti-terror legislation. When I go talk to people about the bill, the comment I always get back is ‘oh, we’re becoming just like the U.S.’ ” said Sam Heaton, a leader of Saturday’s demonstration. The government says the legislation will give important new powers to the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service to protect Canadians from security threats. But critics contend that it goes too far, giving CSIS too many tools to invade Canadians’ privacy without putting enough oversight in place to keep watch on the spy agency. As of Friday afternoon, the petition (stopc51.ca) had more than 194,000 names on it. That’s the most since a similar online petition against then-Justice Minister Vic Toews’ online surveillance Bill C-30 topped out at around 150,000 names in 2012, David Christopher said. After a cabinet shuffle, Toews’ replacement, Rob Nicholson withdrew the bill in 2013 because of the public opposition. This time, OpenMedia.org and its partners are targeting Bill C-51, and Christopher said his organization is seeing an increase in the number of people going beyond simply clicking on an online petition. “We had 12,000 people in one day write to their MPs about it. These numbers are blowing our old statistics out of the water,” Christopher said. Paul Dewar, the NDP MP for Ottawa-Centre, said the success of the petition shows the growing frustration with a government that won’t listen to Canadians. “It’s showing how unpopular the bill is and how stubborn the government is being. It shows that it’s not just something inside the Ottawa bubble. It’s something across the country,” he said. Liberal MP Wayne Easter said his party has some reservations about the bill but will support it anyway because it thinks the security measures are needed. “We are hoping that the government will see the light and implement parallel legislation in terms of national oversight and see the need to institute some sunset clauses and a mandatory review,” Easter said. “They could still do that.” The OpenMedia.org petition isn’t the only list naming Canadians who oppose the bill. Green Party leader Elizabeth May has tabled at least seven petitions against the bill in the House of Commons. Her list has reached around 4,400 pen-and-ink signatures. The bill is up for debate in the House of Commons late next week, with a vote expected in the following week. © 2015 Postmedia Network Inc. All rights reserved.


VIDEO: Filmmaker Amar Wala on CBC's Q

posted on February 18, 2015 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

Source: Youtube.com / CBC.ca URL: [link] Date: November 3, 2014
This interview is from November 2014.


Suspect tortured by CIA figured in Canadian security cases

posted on January 09, 2015 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Tu Thanh Ha Source: The Globe and Mail URL: [link] Date: December 10, 2014 The scathing report on the CIA’s brutal interrogation techniques from the U.S. Senate repeatedly mentions a terrorism suspect called Abu Zubaydah, describing how the torture inflicted on him yielded no valuable information. Abu Zubaydah is the source the Canadian government cited a decade ago in court documents about two suspects arrested in Canada, Adil Charkaoui and Mohamed Harkat. Canadian judges eventually ruled that the evidence Abu Zubaydah gave to his U.S. interrogators was not reliable, even though federal lawyers at one point insisted there was no coercion. The government argued that the information implicating Mr. Charkaoui was “obtained freely and without constraint,” according to a Federal Court ruling in July, 2004. In the case against Mr. Harkat, the government told the judge there was “no proof, on a balance of probabilities, that evidence obtained from Abu [Zubaydah] was obtained as a result of torture,” a 2005 ruling said.



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[video] The Agenda with Steve Paikin: Secret Trials, Secret Evidence

posted on December 05, 2014 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

Source: The Agenda - TVO website URL: [link] Date: November 27, 2014 Click on the image below to watch the 32 minute television show online.
[link]

About the video: The Canadian government can use a legal tool called a 'security certificate' to detain and deport non-citizens suspected of terrorist activities using secret evidence the accused and their lawyers cannot see. Over the last decade, five Muslim men - dubbed the Secret Trial Five - have been detained in Canadian prisons without charges under security certificates. The Agenda convenes a panel to discuss the security and civil liberty issues surrounding this legal tool.

Copyright © 2014 The Ontario Educational Communications Authority (TVO)


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