Mohamed Harkat

Mohamed Harkat asks court to scrap GPS ankle bracelet

posted on June 12, 2013 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

By Doug Hempstead Source: The Ottawa Sun URL: [link] Date: June 11, 2013 OTTAWA — Just the thought of not having to lie on a bed for two hours each day to recharge his GPS tracking ankle bracelet was enough to make Mohamed Harkat smile Tuesday. The Algerian citizen, suspected of having ties to terrorism, has worn one for seven years. Now a Federal Court judge is considering Harkat's plea to have it removed after a lengthy submission by his lawyer, Matthew Webber. Harkat, 44, arrived in Canada in 1995 and was granted refugee status in 1998. He was arrested outside his Ottawa home on Dec. 10, 2002, and accused of operating a safe house for Islamic extremists in Pakistan when he was 19 and having associations with terrorist groups. He was jailed for 3 1/2 years — including one year in solitary confinement — and released on bail June 21, 2006. The government issued a security certificate against him and served him with a notice of deportation in 2011. If Harkat were allowed to use a computer, he'd be willing to allow Canada Border Services Agency or CSIS access to the device remotely or in-person to monitor his e-mails and the websites he visits, Webber said. The GPS is the major issue. Webber said the stress of wearing the bracelet has taken a psychological and physical toll on Harkat. Judge Simon Noel said there are "bound to be consequences when a person is subjected to the certificate procedure," but later suggested Harkat could perhaps wear some sort of watch-like device instead. It's not known how long Noel will take to make a decision on the restrictions. Copyright © 2013 All rights reserved.



Accused terrorist Mohamed Harkat back in court

posted on June 11, 2013 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Ottawa Citizen and The Canadian Press Source: The Ottawa Citizen URL: [link] 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.



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Harkat optimistic about appeal

posted on January 25, 2013 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Noman Bajwah Source: Muslim Link URL: [link] Date: January 22, 2013 Ten years after his arrest, security certificate detainee Mohamed Harkat has something to look forward to. Mr. Harkat’s case will become the first to test the constitutionality of Canada’s revised security certificate law as it moves to a hearing before the Supreme Court. On November 22, the Supreme Court of Canada declared it would hear appeals from the Algerian-born Ottawa resident and the government, most likely in the fall of 2013. “I’m confident,” Mr. Harkat replied when asked how he felt about the outcome of the appeals. “I have big hopes in the Supreme Court,” he stated. His wife is similarly optimistic. “It’s unfortunate that we’ve had to go through two certificates and the federal court of appeal, but for me – the ultimate justice comes in the hands of the highest court,” Sophie Harkat told reporters. Mr. Harkat’s attorneys have long stated that the government’s use of the security certificate process is profoundly unfair because Harkat still doesn’t know the exact detail of the allegations against him. In April 2012, the Federal Court of Appeal upheld the constitutionality of the security certificates, but also ordered Federal Court Justice Simon Noel to reconsider his conclusion that Mr. Harkat’s continuing presence in Canada was a security threat. The provision that is most attacked by Mr. Harkat and his supporters is the “special advocates” clause, which allows individuals aligned with the government to be privy to secret government evidence. The Federal Court of Appeal ruled in April that the use of such advocates is constitutional. These “special advocates” are government appointed agents who must consult with the same judge who upheld the certificate to talk to the detainee. “Special advocates” are supposed to be security-cleared lawyers who are allowed to attend closed hearings where they can hear government evidence and ostensibly protect the rights of the accused. However, a key component of the “special advocates” role is that they are forbidden from communicating with the detainees or their ordinary legal counsel about the confidential information that is divulged to them in secrecy. Mr. Harkat was arrested outside his Ottawa home on Dec. 10, 2002 for allegedly operating a safe house for extremists in Pakistan. He was 19 years old at the time. His ten year ordeal has been marked by 43 months of imprisonment followed by three and a half years of the harshest bail and house arrest conditions imposed in Canadian history. His family put up $100,000 to guarantee his release condition that he wear an electronic monitoring device at all times, remain under 24-hour supervision (even while at home). He also had to inform authorities 48 hours in advance if he planned on leaving his home and had to submit the names of people he planned on seeing. Those bail conditions were eased in September 2009. Two years later, the government issued a security certificate against him and served him with a notice of deportation. Even now, Mr. Harkat cannot use the internet, cannot use a telephone outside the house and must receive special permission to leave Ottawa. Mrs. Harkat says officials with the Canadian Border Services Agency are constantly parked outside their home. Copyright © 2013 Eye Media Solutions Inc. All rights reserved.



Harkat recounts his turbulent decade under terrorist storm cloud

posted on January 18, 2013 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

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.”

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VIDEO: Ottawa Sun Interview with Mohamed and Sophie (Nov, 2012)

posted on December 16, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Doug Hempstead Source: The Ottawa Sun URL: [link] Date: November 22, 2012 Mohamed and Sophie at home, Nov 2012
LINK TO VIDEO: www.justiceforharkat.com/download.php?view.270

Source: OTTAWA SUN: Mohamed Harkat gets shot to clear himself at Supreme Court



Les 10 ans d'enfer de Mohamed Harkat

posted on December 12, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

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.

Pour quelles raisons, et surtout, en se basant sur quelles preuves? Impossible de le savoir. Arrêté en vertu d'un certificat de sécurité, celui qui avait obtenu en 1998 le statut de réfugié n'aura pas accès à l'ensemble des preuves que détient le gouvernement contre lui. « Ça viole à peu près tous les principes du droit. Chacun a droit de savoir ce qu'on lui reproche. Or, ce n'est pas le cas avec ceux qui font l'objet d'un certificat de sécurité», a souligné hier Elizabeth May, la chef du Parti vert. Hier marquaient les dix ans de l'arrestation de Mohamed Harkat, devant son appartement d'Ottawa. Dix années, dont près de quatre passées derrière les barreaux, certaines passées en incarcération solitaire. Comble de l'ironie, cette date coïncide avec la Journée internationale des droits de la personne. « Ce pays ne représente plus les valeurs humaines avec lesquelles j'ai été élevée, laisse tomber Pierrette Brunette, la belle-mère de Mohamed Harkat. La vie de ma famille a été, est et sera à jamais perturbée par toutes les conditions de vie de mon gendre. Ce sont des facteurs difficiles à supporter, même après tout ce temps-là.» © La Presse, ltée. Tous droits réservés.



Are Your Human Rights Safe in Canada?

posted on December 11, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Shahla Khan Salter Source: The Huffington Post Canada URL: [link] 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.



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Mohamed Harkat, dix ans plus tard

posted on December 11, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

par Bahador Zabihiyan Source: Le Devoir URL: [link] 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.



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Photos From Ottawa Rally and Press Conference, Dec 10

posted on December 11, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

Thanks to Philippe Parent and others for taking these photos from Monday's 10th anniversary event in Ottawa. Dec 10, 2012, Ottawa
Click on image to see more photos from Monday's rally and visual presentation on Parliament Hill

Gabrielle at press conference, Dec 10, 2012
Click on image to see more photos from Monday's press conference.



Harkat marks 10th anniversary of arrest on International Human Rights Day

posted on December 11, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Michelle Zilio Source: iPolitics.ca URL: [link] Date: December 10, 2012 In 2002, Mohamed Harkat had many hopes for his future, including a modest home, kids and a “normal life” with his wife Sophie. He was working as a pizza delivery man and gas station cashier at the time. A decade later, Harkat is fighting to stay in Canada and avoid deportation. Ten years ago Monday, on International Human Rights Day, Harkat was arrested in Ottawa on a security certificate, a rarely-used removal instrument for non-citizens suspected of being spies or terrorists. He was jailed for 43 months followed by 3.5 years of the toughest bail and house arrest conditions in Canadian history. “Before I got arrested, we were planning to have a house, have kids, have normal life, and now it’s all up in the air,” said Harkat, an Algerian citizen who made his refugee claim in Canada in 1995. “Ten years later, I have been left in (the) dark.” While the government has suspicions of him being an al-Qaida sleeper agent, Harkat has consistently denied any links to terrorism. He is one of three men in Canada, all Muslims, who have appeared before the courts on a security certificate. Standing in the rain on Parliament Hill Monday morning, Harkat and approximately 20 supporters marked the 10th anniversary of his initial arrest. “It’s a sad day. It’s supposed to be celebrating human rights in Canada and justice for all. Ten years later, you see me fighting for something everybody has a right to — an open and fair trial,” said Harkat.



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