by Tonda MacCharles
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.
by Andrew Duffy
Source: The Ottawa Citizen
Date: May 14, 2014
Ottawa’s Mohamed Harkat once again faces deportation to his native Algeria after the Supreme Court of Canada on Wednesday declared the federal government’s security certificate regime constitutional.
In a unanimous ruling, the high court said the security certificate regime crafted by Parliament in 2008 – although an “imperfect process” — offers a fundamentally fair process that also protects national security information.
The Supreme Court ruling provides a detailed roadmap for trial judges to ensure that future security-certificate cases are conducted fairly.
In upholding a key element of the government’s anti-terrorism strategy, the Supreme Court decided that Harkat’s lawyers had failed to show that his security certificate hearing was unfair or had undermined the integrity of the justice system.
“In the present case, Mr. Harkat benefited from a fair process,” the court declared in a ruling that puts Harkat back on the legal road to deportation.
The high court reinstated the December 2010 judgment of Federal Court Judge Simon Noël, who deemed Harkat a terrorist threat to national security.
Noël said Harkat was a member of the al-Qaida network and linked him to a number of Islamic extremists, including Saudi-born Ibn Khattab, Canadian Ahmed Said Khadr, a key al-Qaida figure, and Abu Zubaydah, a facilitator in the Osama bin Laden network.
The ruling represents a much-needed victory for the government at the Supreme Court and a devastating loss for Harkat, who had been hoping the court would put an end to his almost 12-year legal odyssey.
The documentary The Secret Trial Five, long in the making, has now been released. It screened recently at the Toronto HotDocs Documentary Film Festival and was well received there. HotDocs audiences voted it 8th best out of a total 200 films that were shown during the 11-day festival.
Watch the trailer:
Ottawa lawyers Matt Webber and Robert Wadden named to bench
by Hayley Pitcher
Source: Pro Bono Students Canada / CCLA Rights Watch Blog
Date: October 10, 2013
The opinions expressed here are those of the author's. They do not necessarily represent CCLA or PBSC policy. Please visit CCLA’s website, www.ccla.org, for official CCLA publications and policies.
Today, the SCC hears an important case regarding the constitutional rights of immigrants in Canada. Mohamed Harkat will challenge the constitutionality of security certificates. Harkat is an Algerian who came to Canada in 1997. He has been subject to a security certificate since 2002. He was detained until 2006 and has since been under strict bail conditions. While his conditions have relaxed over time, they have included: a GPS monitoring device, curfew, surveillance cameras at the front of his house, interception of mail and phone calls, and no internet access.
Security certificates allow the Canadian government, on the basis of secret evidence, to deport non-citizens who are deemed a security threat to Canada. The regime also allows for detention – with no statutory limitations on the length – so long as the detention is reasonable. Because it is not a criminal proceeding, the standard of proof is much lower than beyond a reasonable doubt. The standard applied is whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that the named person is a security threat.
by Joe Lofaro
Source: Metro News Ottawa
Date: October 10, 2013
Mohamed Harkat speaks to reporters in the foyer of the Supreme Court of Canada on Oct. 10, 2013. Photo by Joe Lofaro.
An Algerian-born Ottawa man accused of being an Al Qaeda “sleeper cell” agent was at the Supreme Court of Canada Thursday as federal lawyers argued for the court to uphold laws that would deport terrorist suspects.
Mohamed Harkat, a former gas station attendant and pizza deliveryman, was arrested in 2002 under a security certificate. The tool gives Canada permission to deport foreigners without charging them on the basis of national security.
He was placed on house arrest after spending 43 months in prison. It was only this past July the Ottawa man was permitted to remove his GPS tracking bracelet from his ankle.
On Thursday he was appealing for the second time the constitutionality of the security certificate provisions in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
“I hope for the best and I’m still optimistic what’s going on so far,” said Harkat in the court foyer during a break in the hearing.
In his argument to Canada’s highest court, federal lawyer Robert Frater called for government informants to be kept under a veil of secrecy, otherwise “the informants will close up like a clam.” Federal lawyer Urszula Kaczmarczyk also argued for those named in a security certificate to only receive a summary of the case against them, without divulging sensitive intelligence information.
But what defence counsel is left with is a summary of “bald” allegations, argued Harkat’s lawyer, Norm Boxall.
“You must have information and other evidence and it’s not just being told the allegation,” said Boxall. “For example, there’s an allegation that he went to Afghanistan. When? Where? How? Why?”
Matthew Webber, Harkat’s other lawyer, also asked for an exclusion of the original Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) wiretaps used in building a case against Harkat, which were destroyed in 2009. The destruction of that evidence is “prejudicial” to his client, said Webber.
Outside the courtroom the foyer was bustling with supporters who came to observe the rare proceeding. Harkat also had the support of his wife, Sophie, during the hearing.
“I’m hoping one day I’m going to clear my name,” Harkat told reporters. “I’m telling the Canadian people and the world I’m not part of bin Laden, what they’re saying. It will prove itself.”
The hearing will continue Friday behind closed doors.
Copyright 2001-2013, Free Daily News Group Inc.
Supreme Court urged to accept revamped national security certificate rules
Click on the photo of Mohamed to see all items related to him. JUNE 2017: Mohamed Harkat once again faces deportation to his native Algeria after the Supreme Court of Canada declared the federal government’s security certificate regime constitutional.
This fight is not over. The Justice for Mohamed Harkat Committee will re-double its efforts to see that justice is done for Mohamed Harkat and that the odious security certificate system of injustice is abolished once and for all.
Here is the contact information for Sophie Harkat.
Email Sophie: [email]
* * * * * *
Our Legal Team:
Barbara Jackman, Lead Public Counsel for Mohamed Harkat
Jackman, Nazami & Associates
Barristers and Solicitors
596 St. Clair Avenue West
Tel.: (416) 653-9964
* * * * * *
Christian Legeais, spokesperson and bilingual media contact: