Harkat recounts his turbulent decade under terrorist storm cloudposted on January 18, 2013 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink
Source: The Ottawa Citizen
Date: December 10, 2012
[PHOTO: Sophie and Mohamed Harkat are marking the tenth anniversary of his initial arrest, on Dec. 10, 2002.]
OTTAWA — Ten years ago, on Dec. 10, 2002, Mohamed Harkat had a few errands to run before starting his 3 p.m. shift as a Petro-Canada gas station cashier.
First, he had to throw out the garbage at his Vanier townhouse complex, then he had to drop off an application to renew his work permit at a federal immigration office. He was hoping to find work as a short-haul truck driver.
After depositing his trash, however, Harkat was stopped in his tracks by a team of border agents and police officers.
One of the agents put his hand on Harkat’s arm and showed him a picture. Harkat stared into his own face.
“You are Mohamed Harkat?” the agent demanded.
“Yes,” Harkat said.
Harkat had been living in Ottawa for seven years, ever since making a refugee claim in 1995. But his English was still a work in progress. He didn’t understand everything the agent then told him; he knew only that he was under arrest.
“In my head, a thousand questions came to my brain,” remembers Harkat of the moment that would mark the start of his 10-year legal odyssey.
“But I never, ever thought I’d be arrested: there is no reason. There’s nothing I did wrong.”
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