by Jim Bronskill (CP)
Source: The Ottawa Citizen
Date: July 18, 2013
Accused terrorist, Mohamed Harkat, has tracking bracelet removed
OTTAWA — The wife of an Ottawa man accused of terrorist ties says border agents have removed an electronic tracking bracelet from his ankle.
Canada Border Services Agency took the tracking device off late Wednesday as part of a court-ordered relaxation of Mohamed Harkat's release conditions, Sophie Harkat said Thursday.
It has been more than a decade since Harkat, a refugee from Algeria, was arrested under a national security certificate on suspicion of being an al-Qaida sleeper agent — an accusation he denies.
Harkat, 44, has essentially been living under house arrest with stringent conditions — including the tracking bracelet — for seven years.
Sophie Harkat and her husband arrived home Wednesday to a phone message telling them to come to a border services office to have the bracelet removed.
"He feels like he's no longer an animal with a leash," she said in interview. "His eyes were just sparkling last night. And we were high-fiving each other."
by Ottawa Citizen and The Canadian Press
Source: The Ottawa Citizen
Date: June 11, 2013
OTTAWA - Mohamed Harkat returns to Federal Court Tuesday seeking complete removal or a relaxation of conditions on his release from detention under a Security Certificate.
Leading up to Tuesday’s hearing, the federal government said it will allow the Ottawa man accused of terrorist ties to have a mobile phone but it balked at the idea of giving Harkat access to the Internet or removing his electronic tracking bracelet.
In documents filed with the Federal Court, the government also said it is open to dropping a requirement that Harkat get prior approval before travelling out of town.
The concessions would ease current release conditions for Harkat, but fall short of the full list of freedoms he is seeking during Tuesday’s one-day Federal Court hearing.
It has been more than a decade since Harkat, a refugee from Algeria, was arrested under a national security certificate on suspicion of being an al-Qaida sleeper agent. He has essentially been living under house arrest with stringent conditions for seven years.
Harkat, 44, lives at home in Ottawa with wife Sophie, but wears an electronic GPS bracelet on his ankle, must check in with authorities regularly and cannot leave the capital area without permission. He is denied access to a mobile phone or a computer with Internet connectivity.
“I feel dehumanized and degraded on a daily basis,” Harkat says in an affidavit in support of his request for less onerous conditions. “The GPS ankle bracelet I am required to wear is a constant reminder of this.”
Harkat denies any involvement in terrorist activities. He says his decade-long ordeal has taken a toll, and that he’s been treated by a psychiatrist for anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and insomnia for the last three years.
“I feel that much of my psychological difficulties are a result of the extremely restrictive conditions under which I live,” he says in the affidavit.
Harkat’s psychiatrist, Dr. Colin Cameron, says his patient takes four medications — two of which have had to be increased a number of times over the last three years — to manage his “significant depressive, post-traumatic stress and anxiety symptoms.”
In a brief to the court, Harkat’s lawyers call the current release conditions “harsh and excessive.”
Harkat argues his current lack of access to the Internet prevents him from emailing family members, the Justice for Mohamed Harkat Committee, legal counsel or even the Canada Border Services Agency, which monitors his daily movements and approves or denies travel requests.
In addition, he says, he “feels uneasy” about not having a mobile phone in the event of an emergency when away from home — noting his wife suffers from diabetes and his nephew has allergies that require him to carry an epi-pen.
In its court submission, the government says the conditions imposed on Harkat — including GPS monitoring and the prohibition on Internet access — are proportional to the danger.
“The threat posed by Mr. Harkat relates directly to his ability to meet and communicate with persons associated with terrorism,” says the brief. “The conditions were imposed in order for the Court to be reassured that Mr. Harkat would not maintain or undertake such contacts.”
Harkat argues he has done everything expected of him to date.
by Andrew Duffy Source: The Ottawa Citizen URL: [link] 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.”
par Philippe Orfali
Source: La Presse
Date: 11 décembre 2012
[PHOTO: Hier marquaient les dix ans de l'arrestation de Mohamed Harkat, devant son appartement d'Ottawa.]
Le 10 décembre 2002, tout basculait pour Mohamed Harkat, son épouse Sophie et leurs proches. Alors qu'il sortait faire des emplettes, l'homme d'origine algérienne à la vie en apparence rangée était arrêté. Son crime allégué, le pire de tous: terrorisme.
by Shahla Khan Salter
Source: The Huffington Post Canada
Date: December 10, 2012
Monday, December 10 is International Human Rights Day. And on this day three Canadians remain in prison in Iran. All three have been charged with computer-related crimes. The reason? Measures against "illegal" computer use are ruthlessly enforced by the Iranian government in an effort to wipe out online information against that government.
Our Canadian government has not been able to secure the release of these three Canadians. Talk of war against Iran makes their release ever more improbable. Will they languish there forever?
Or will a bomb, manufactured in the Western world, simply drop, one day, on Evin Prison and kill all the innocent people inside, including our three Canadians.
People say, "Well -- it's too bad they went there. They should have known better." Are we safer here in Canada?
Legally, yes. Canadian law is clear. Section 11 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies to "everyone" and grants us the rights to be informed of the charge against us; tried within a reasonable period of time; not to be compelled to testify against ourselves; to be presumed innocent until proven guilty; and not to be found guilty unless the action is a crime. (These are only a portion of our Charter rights.)
The result? A vast body of Canadian law has been developed that upholds the rights of individuals even in the face of the most heinous crimes.
It means, here in Canada if the evidence is tainted by a denial of individual rights, the case can be dismissed. The protection of the individual in some cases is known to cause outrage.
par Bahador Zabihiyan
Source: Le Devoir
Date: 11 décembre 2012
[PHOTO: Mohamed Harkat devant le Parlement, à Ottawa.]
Le 10 décembre 2002, Mohamed Harkat se faisait passer les menottes devant l’immeuble où il habitait à Ottawa, par un agent des services frontaliers. « Je pensais que tout rentrerait dans l’ordre en l’espace de quelques minutes », se souvient-il. Mais après trois ans et demi passés en prison et plus de six ans en résidence surveillée, le gouvernement le soupçonne toujours de terrorisme, en vertu d’un certificat de sécurité.
Son comité de soutien s’est rassemblé sur la colline parlementaire, lundi, pour souligner cette date anniversaire. La saga judiciaire que vit M. Harkat pourrait venir à terme en 2013 : la Cour suprême a récemment accepté de se pencher sur son cas en particulier et sur le régime des certificats de sécurité en général.
Les certificats de sécurité sont délivrés par le gouvernement fédéral lorsqu’il craint qu’une personne représente un danger pour la sécurité nationale ou constitue une menace terroriste. Trois certificats sont présentement actifs au pays, dont celui de M. Harkat. Cette procédure permet de détenir une personne pour une durée indéterminée sans accusation et sans accès à la preuve.
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.