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.
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