Stop the deportation of Mohamed Harkatposted on May 15, 2019 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink
Will We Allow Canada To Deport Mohamed Harkat To Torture?posted on December 11, 2018 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink
Co-authored with my colleague, Anne Dagenais GuertinThis is a story about a man who came to Canada as a refugee out of fear of persecution in his home country. Shortly after arriving, though, he was jailed without charge based on accusations from a secret informant who failed a lie-detector test and whom the judge refused to make available for cross-examination. After his arrest, the government proceeded to destroy the original "evidence" against him. Only a summary was given to a special, security-cleared lawyer, who wasn't allowed to discuss the evidence with the person in question. The process that followed was so skewed that the courts were allowed to make their decisions based on information not normally admissible in a court of law. It doesn't end there. Over the next 16 years, this person faced constant monitoring and harassment by government officials, three-and-a-half years of detention, including one in solitary confinement, and years of house arrest but has never event been charged, let alone convicted, of a crime. On top of all this, he is now facing deportation to torture because he is not a Canadian citizen. After hearing this story, would you think it unfair? That it is shocking that this could happen in Canada? Would you believe this needs to stop — and should never have happened in the first place? What if we told you the person we are talking about is a Muslim man named Mohamed Harkat, who Canada is attempting to deport based on secret, unproven national security allegations? Would that change your answers to the questions above? Who Is Mohamed Harkat?
Unfounded fear and hatred of Muslims, migrants and refugees, already long-standing, became worse after Sept. 11, 2001, and are now acceptable public discourse. The examples are many: Politicians winning elections on hatred of Muslims and foreigners; fear-mongering over the refugee caravan; asylum seekers forced to cross the U.S.-Canada border because of the Safe Third Country Agreement; and the stunning increase of reported hate crimes in Canada in 2017, up 151 per cent for Muslims alone. The fear of Muslims is now so pervasive that, in 2017, a young man was convinced that committing a terrorist attack and killing six worshipers at a Quebec City Mosque would protect people... from a terrorist attack. Fear leads us to do illogical things. And it leads us to renounce long-held principles that we otherwise say define us as Canadians, including freedom of thought and religion, the prohibition of torture, the fundamental right to due process and a fair trial, and the principle of innocence until proven guilty before a court of law. Our point is that we are being duped: duped into giving up our rights and our ideals — including a more just and equal society for all, legally, economically and socially — through fear-mongering. We are being distracted by people who want to hoard more money and power for themselves by pointing the finger at people simply in search of a better life. People who come here in fear of persecution in their home country. People like Mohamed Harkat. Moe, as he is affectionately known to his family, friends and supporters (including the ICLMG, fighting alongside him for the past decade), arrived in Canada in 1995 and obtained refugee status in 1997. On Dec. 10, 2002, he was arrested outside his home in Ottawa, alleged to be a threat to national security and subjected to a security certificate. He spent years in jail despite never having been accused let alone convicted of a crime, and was released on bail in 2006 with the strictest conditions in Canadian history. He has been happily married to a French-Canadian woman for 19 years, he is a hard worker and is loved by his family, community and colleagues. Now he faces deportation to Algeria where he will be tortured. It's not a fear, it's a fact. Canada gave him refugee status in 1997 because his fear of persecution was deemed founded. Now that his name is tainted by unproven, secret national security allegations, he will be detained and tortured if he is sent back to Algeria. And we are not the only ones to acknowledge this: Germany, France, the U.K. and the Supreme Court of Ireland consider it unsafe to deport refugees to Algeria. At Moe's last bail hearing, CSIS did not file a threat assessment, and his bail conditions have been significantly lowered, including the removal of his ankle monitor, demonstrating he is no longer considered a threat. However, Moe and his wife Sophie continue to be harassed by government agents and live in fear that Moe could be deported any day. Their health and quality of life have been greatly impacted for too long. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has the power to stop Moe's deportation to torture and allow him to stay in Canada with his family and friends. He can prevent Canada from once again being complicit in torture, and he can rectify the great injustice that has been done to Moe in violation of what Canada claims to be: a country respectful of human rights and civil liberties. You can change that. Take action by sending a letter to your MP and signing the petition to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister Goodale to stop the deportation to torture of Mohamed Harkat. It's the right thing to do. Copyright © 2018 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.
Mohamed Harkat should never be deported to tortureposted on November 12, 2018 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink
The Government Must Stop The Deportation Of Mohamed Harkatposted on July 04, 2018 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink
Source: Huffington Post URL: [link] Date: June 25, 2018 What the government has put Harkat through has had a significant impact on his physical and mental health.
June 26 will mark the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. Today, though, there will be a rally at the Prime Minister's Office to once again call on the Canadian government to meet its commitments to counter torture in all its forms, including deporting innocent people to imprisonment and torture abroad. In December 2002, Mohamed Harkat, an Algerian refugee to Canada, was arrested in Ottawa by Canadian authorities and placed under a security certificate for alleged links to terrorism. For a decade and a half, he has lived a Kafkaesque experience of never once being charged with a crime but being imprisoned for 43 months in a maximum-security prison, put under house arrest and placed under some of the most severe bail conditions in Canadian history. He continues to face strict bail conditions today. Despite never facing trial, never seeing the full evidence used against him and never even formally being accused of a crime, Canada continues to threaten Harkat — a United Nations Convention refugee — with deportation to Algeria, where he will be imprisoned and will very likely face torture. Today, Harkat's fate lies with the Minister of Public Safety, Ralph Goodale. Harkat could be deported to torture or he could be granted the status to continue to live a peaceful life in Ottawa with his wife, Sophie Lamarche, and his family and friends. For them, he is simply "Moe," a loving and soft-spoken man who is always ready to help those around him. But Moe, Sophie and their friends and family have been living in constant fear since the deportation proceedings against him were started three years ago, in 2015. Since 2009, all of the assessments conducted by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) as well as esteemed psychiatristsconcluded unequivocally that Harkat poses a very low risk to Canada, placing him at lowest level of risk on the scale. The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) has closely followed the case of Mohamed Harkat since it came to the public eye in 2002, working with the Justice for Mohamed Harkat campaign. In 2013, ICLMG obtained intervener status in the Supreme Court case opposing Harkat to the Canadian government. Today, as we have done for the last 15 years, we oppose the highly problematic use of secret intelligence in these cases and the lack of access to the "evidence" against the suspects, which makes it impossible for those accused to mount a defence. The Liberal government must live up to its words and allow Harkat to stay in Canada
In October 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau clearly stated, "Nobody ever deserves to be tortured. And when a Canadian government is either complicit in that or was not active enough in preventing it, there needs to be responsibility taken." The Liberal government must live up to its words and allow Harkat to stay in Canada by immediately ending the deportation proceedings and lifting the security certificate that has dogged Harkat and his loved ones for more than 15 years. The toll of just the security certificate and its draconian rules approach what many would deem "cruel and unusual punishment." Sophie herself has described the "psychological torture" that they have gone through, including: being constantly followed by CBSA agents, restricting Harkat from taking on any employment that requires a cell phone or a computer, driving across provincial lines, unannounced visits and arbitrary house searches, and contradictory instructions from CBSA that cause further confusion and stress around following bail conditions. What the government has put Harkat through has had a significant impact on his physical and mental health. Last year, the clinical director of the Integrated Forensic Program at the Royal Ottawa Health produced a report on Harkat based on 112 evaluation sessions going back to 2009, as well as additional interviews dating back to 2005, which found that he has a "history of chronic depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress related to having been incarcerated." It goes on to describe how "Mr. Harkat has experienced recurrent visions on a virtually daily basis over several months of being arrested, incarcerated, deported and tortured. Sometimes he has visions of being shot by CBSA due to a misunderstanding, minor misstep or accidental violation of his bail conditions." After living this dreadful experience for 16 years, Harkat deserves to go on with his life. The Canadian government has the power to make that happen today. More from HuffPost Canada:
Hold CBSA Accountable For Deporting Detainees To Torture
Under the law governing Security Certificates, section 42.1 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, Goodale can decide that allowing Harkat to stay in Canada is not contrary to the national interest. Based on court assessments, this a fact which to us is already clear. Today at the Prime Minister's office, tomorrow on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture and every day, we'll urge the Minister to use the power afforded to him under the law to stop the deportation of Harkat. Copyright © 2018 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.
VIDEO: Stop the deportation to torture of Mohamed Harkat, Ottawa vigil, June 2018posted on July 04, 2018 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink
URL: [link] Date: June 28, 2018 In this video of the event held in Ottawa on June 25, 2018 you will hear from the following speakers on why Canada must stop Moe's deportation now! - Matthew Behrens, Coordinator of Stop Canadian Involvement in Torture and Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada - Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada - Joel Harden, MPP for Ottawa Centre - Jo & Ria from the Ottawa Raging Grannies, the Justice for Harkat Support Committee - Tim McSorley, National Coordinator for the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG - CSILC) - Sophie Lamarche Harkat, Moe's wife and activist Here is the video of the whole rally on Youtube [link]
Thank you so much Anne for shooting and live streaming this event!
Judge loosens some of terror suspect Mohamed Harkat’s release conditionsposted on February 08, 2018 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink
Les conditions de libération de Mohamed Harkat sont assouplies, mais pas suffisamment à son goûtposted on February 08, 2018 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink
Un texte d'Angie Bonenfant Mohamed Harkat, 49 ans, fait l'objet d'un certificat de sécurité depuis 2002. Il est soupçonné d'être un agent dormant du réseau terroriste Al-Quaïda. Il est soumis à une surveillance étroite de l'Agence des services frontaliers du Canada (ASFC). Il doit, entre autres, se rapporter aux agents du ministère toutes les deux semaines. M. Harkat demandait à la cour de lui accorder une liberté de déplacement totale au Canada sans devoir avertir l'AFSC. Il souhaitait également se rapporter aux agents seulement une fois par mois, par téléphone. Dans un jugement de 55 pages, obtenu par Radio-Canada, la cour fédérale a rejeté la demande de Mohamed Harkat de se déplacer partout au Canada sans restriction. Cependant, elle lui a permis de voyager n'importe où au Québec et en Ontario pour une période de 72 heures sans devoir avertir les autorités. La cour lui accorde également la permission de se rapporter une fois par mois à l'AFSC, mais il devra le faire en personne. En plus d'une liberté complète de déplacement au Canada, M. Harkat qui réside dans la région de l'Outaouais demandait un accès plus large à l'internet. Présentement, M. Harkat a la permission d'utiliser à la maison un ordinateur ayant accès à internet, mais il aurait également voulu utiliser un ordinateur portable ou une tablette à l'extérieur de sa résidence. Sa demande a été rejetée. Toutefois, la cour serait encline à lui permettre l'utilisation d'une tablette ou d'un ordinateur portable en dehors de sa maison pour des motifs d'employabilité. Une déception
L'épouse de Mohamed Harkat, Sophie, s'est dite très déçue du jugement. « Au fil des années, mon mari a eu un comportement exemplaire. Le gouvernent n'a présenté aucune preuve prouvant la nécessité des conditions qui sont encore en place », a-t-elle déploré. « C'est une déception, mais nous n'avons pas le choix de vivre avec ça jusqu'à notre prochaine évaluation. » Même si la juge a assoupli certaines conditions de libération, son mari aura toujours de la difficulté à se trouver un bon emploi, plaide-t-elle. Elle aurait aimé, au moins, qu'il puisse utiliser un portable à l'extérieur de la maison. « C'est possible pour lui de se trouver un emploi même s'il n'a pas accès à un téléphone cellulaire et à l'internet, mais ça le limite énormément et ça le limite au niveau du salaire aussi », soutient-elle. M. Harkat a été arrêté en 2002 à Ottawa. Depuis, le gouvernement canadien cherche à le renvoyer dans son pays d'origine, l'Algérie. Les autorités croient qu'il représente une menace à la sécurité nationale. M. Harkat nie être un agent terroriste et prétend qu'il sera torturé s'il est déporté en Algérie. Mohamed Harkat, quelques dates clés
2002- Mohammed Harkat est arrêté le 10 décembre, à Ottawa, en vertu d'un certificat de sécurité. Les autorités canadiennes le soupçonnent d'être un agent dormant du réseau terroriste al-Qaïda.
2006- Mohammed Harkat, qui est en détention depuis son arrestation, est remis en liberté sous des conditions très strictes. Il doit porter un bracelet qui surveille tous ses déplacements 24 heures sur 24.
2010- En Cour fédérale, Mohammed Harkat remet en question la validité du certificat dont il fait l'objet. Toutefois, le 9 décembre, la cour juge que le gouvernement a de bonnes raisons de croire qu'il est une menace pour la sécurité nationale et confirme la validité du certificat.
2013- Après l'avoir porté pendant sept ans, Mohammed Harkat se fait retirer son bracelet GPS. Le 7 juillet, la Cour fédérale considère que le danger initial associé au résident d'Ottawa est assez faible pour lui accorder cette faveur. Le certificat de sécurité est maintenu.
2017- Mohammed Harkat souhaite qu'on assouplisse ses conditions de détention. Il aimerait, en autres, avoir une liberté de mouvement totale au Canada et un accès plus large à l'internet. La Cour fédérale refuse sa demande.
Tous droits réservés © Société Radio-Canada 2018.
VIDEO: 15th Anniversary Press Conferenceposted on January 16, 2018 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink
ICLMG's National Coordinator, Tim McSorley, Amnesty International Canada's Program Manager, Hilary Homes, National Council of Canadian Muslims' Executive Director, Ihsaan Gardee, author and human rights activist (and wife of torture survivor Maher Arar) Monia Mazigh, and Coordinator of Stop Canadian Involvement in Torture and Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada and writer, Matthew Behrens, spoke at the press conference on Parliament Hill, Ottawa.
PHOTOS: 15th Anniversary Rally and Press conferenceposted on December 11, 2017 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink
Matthew Behrens shares a quote from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Mohamed Harkat and wife Sophie Harkat look on. Ottawa. December 8, 2017.
See more photos of the event.
All photos by Anne Dagenais Guertin and used with permission. I hope people remember to demand of governments - this one and all future governments - that nobody ever has their fundamental rights violated either through inaction or deliberate action by Canadian governments. Nobody ever deserves to be tortured. And when a Canadian government is either complicit in that or was not active enough in preventing it there needs to be a responsibility taken. --Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, October 26, 2017
Kafka's Canada at 15: The secret trials of Mohamed Harkatposted on December 01, 2017 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink
Even worse, the security certificate represents the lower rung of a two-tier justice that employs the lowest standards available, while anything not normally admissible in a court of law can be used in these cases (which means one is no longer in a court of law). It only applies to refugees and permanent residents, and ultimately can result in deportation to a country where the scarlet letter of "security threat" means an immediate booking in the nearest torture centre.
The process under which Harkat was arrested on Human Rights Day in 2002 was finally declared unconstitutional in 2007, but not before he spent a harrowing 3.5 years behind bars, including at the infamous Guantanamo North facility especially built for secret trial detainees on the grounds of Kingston's Millhaven Penitentiary.
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