Mohamed Harkat

Harkat defenders repeat call to end security certificates

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

by The Canadian Press Source: CBC News URL: [link] Date: December 10, 2012 Ottawa man arrested ten years ago still wears electronic tracking bracelet

[PHOTO: Mohamed Harkat participates in a rally Monday on Parliament Hill marking the tenth anniversary of his arrest and detention on a security certificate.] Human-rights advocates marked the 10th anniversary of Mohamed Harkat's arrest by calling for an end to national security certificates — the immigration tool used to detain the Algerian refugee. Hilary Homes of Amnesty International Canada says the security certificate regime should be replaced with one that guarantees a fair trial and ensures no evidence extracted through torture is allowed. Harkat, 44, was taken into custody Dec. 10, 2002, on suspicion of being an al-Qaida sleeper agent. The Ottawa man denies any involvement in terrorist activities. Security certificates have been used since 1991 to deport non-citizens accused of being terrorists or spies. Harkat lives at home with wife Sophie, but wears an electronic tracking bracelet on his ankle, must check in with authorities regularly and cannot leave town without permission. The person named in a security certificate receives only a summary of the case against them, which critics say makes a mockery of fundamental justice. Harkat's case has been bound up in various legal proceedings since the former pizza delivery man's arrest.


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Harkat case going back to Supreme Court

posted on November 22, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Andrew Duffy Source: The Ottawa Citizen URL: [link] Date: November 22, 2012 OTTAWA — Ten years after Mohamed Harkat was arrested in Ottawa as a terrorist suspect, his deportation case is headed back to the Supreme Court of Canada. The country’s highest court announced Thursday that it will hear an appeal in his case. It means the Harkat case will become the first to test the constitutionality of the federal government’s revised security certificate law. The first edition of that law, used to deport foreign-born terror suspects, was struck down by the high court in February 2007 as fundamentally unjust. That ruling overturned a judge’s finding that Harkat was a terrorist threat. Parliament rewrote the law to ensure defendants have more information about the case against them, and better legal representation during secret hearings. But Harkat’s lawyers contend Parliament did not do enough. Harkat, they say, remains in the dark about key details of the case due to the still secretive legal process. The government has been trying to deport the Algerian-born Harkat since December 2002, when he was arrested and jailed on the strength of a security certificate.



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High court to deliver latest twists in marathon Harkat terrorism case

posted on November 22, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Jim Bronskill (CP) Source: The Ottawa Citizen URL: [link] Date: November 21, 2012 OTTAWA - The long-running case of former pizza delivery man Mohamed Harkat — an Algerian refugee accused of terrorist links — will take another twist or two Thursday when the Supreme Court decides whether to hear appeals from each side. Harkat, 44, was arrested almost 10 years ago in Ottawa on suspicion of being an al-Qaida sleeper agent. He denies any involvement in terrorism. The federal government wants to deport Harkat under a national security certificate, a rarely used tool for removing non-citizens suspected of being terrorists or spies. He is one of three Muslim men whose certificate cases continue to grind through the courts. Harkat lives at home with wife Sophie, but wears an electronic tracking bracelet on his ankle, must check in with authorities regularly and cannot leave town without permission. "It's been a tremendous ordeal," said Norm Boxall, a lawyer for Harkat. "It's been a very long time." No matter how the Supreme Court of Canada rules, Harkat's legal saga is far from over.



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Mohamed Harkat gets shot to clear himself at Supreme Court

posted on November 13, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Doug Hempstead, with files from Brigitte Pellerin Source: The Ottawa Sun URL: [link] Date: November 22, 2012 Elated that her husband will get a chance to argue his case before the Supreme Court, Sophie Harkat celebrated by baking cookies for her lawyers. The Supreme Court announced Thursday morning the successful appeal of Mohamed Harkat, an Algerian citizen suspected of having ties to terrorism who is challenging Canada’s system of security certificates. The couple got the news when Sophie saw it posted to the Supreme Court website. “I heard her screaming upstairs,” said Harkat. “But sometimes, she is screaming both sides — good news or bad.” 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 — accused of operating a safe house for Islamic extremists in Pakistan while he was still 19 and having associations with terrorist groups. He was jailed for three and a half years — including one year in solitary confinement. He was released on bail June 21, 2006. The government issued a security certificate against him and served with a notice of deportation in 2011.



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Mohamed Harkat case likely to head to Supreme Court, stretch into second decade

posted on November 10, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Andrew Duffy Source: The Ottawa Citizen URL: [link] Date: June 26, 2012 OTTAWA — Mohamed Harkat’s legal odyssey will move into its second decade this year as the Supreme Court considers whether to hear the latest appeals in his terrorism case. Both sides have now appealed elements of an April decision that struck down a judge’s finding that Harkat was a member of the al-Qaeda network. The government has been trying to deport the Algerian-born Harkat using the country’s security certificate law since December 2002 when he was arrested outside his Ottawa apartment building. Harkat, 43, has always maintained that he has no connection to al-Qaeda and will be tortured or killed if returned to Algeria. For 10 years, the case has bounced between the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Judges have twice deemed Harkat a terrorist and ordered him deported only to have their findings overturned by higher courts that found the legal process wanting. In April, the Federal Court of Appeal said Harkat’s right to fair trial had been compromised by the destruction of 13 wiretap recordings made by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) between 1996 and 1998. Written summaries of those conversations offered critical evidence against Harkat, but without the full, original recordings, defence lawyers said they had no way to challenge their context or accuracy. The appeal court agreed and ordered Judge Simon Noël to reconsider the case without the benefit of conversations in which Harkat did not take part. Noël had declared Harkat an active and dangerous member of al-Qaeda in December 2010. The same appeal court decision upheld the constitutionality of the government’s revised security certificate regime.



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New hearing for Algerian terror suspect in Canada

posted on April 28, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

Source: Agence France Presse URL: [link] Date: April 25, 2012 OTTAWA — A Canadian appeals court on Wednesday ordered a new hearing for a former Ottawa pizza delivery man declared to be a security threat with links to Al-Qaeda, effectively delaying his deportation to Algeria. The Federal Court of Appeal ruled that telephone intercepts be excluded from evidence in the case of Mohamed Harkat, a 44-year-old Algerian first detained in 2002 on suspicion of links to the global terror network. Harkat spent nearly four years in jail under a rarely-used national security measure, and has since 2006 been subject to strict bail conditions. A lower court ruled in 2010 that Harkat was likely an Al-Qaeda sleeper agent who remained a national security threat, while Canada's immigration minister vowed to deport him. But in Wednesday's ruling, the appeals court agreed with the argument made by defense lawyers that the Canadian spy agency's routine destruction of the original tapes amounted to a breach of process. The case now goes back to the Federal Court to reconsider. Defense lawyer Matthew Webber said the exclusion of transcripts of the intercepts would have a "profound effect" on the case. "Of the public material that we saw, it's the pivotal evidence," echoed fellow legal counsel Norman Boxall at a press conference, describing the transcripts as "tattered remnants" filled with inaccuracies. Harkat has denied terror links, and claimed he fled Algeria over a crackdown on a political party to which he belonged, the now-defunct and banned Islamic Salvation Front (FIS). He testified that he came to Canada as a refugee in 1995 after spending five years in Pakistan as an aid worker. "This gives me hope to clear my name and live another day... and hope justice will prevail someday," Harkat said Wednesday. "It's not over, but... I see the light at the end of the tunnel." In its decision, the Federal Court of Appeal also upheld disputed provisions of Canada's immigration law that allow secret court hearings and indefinite jailing of foreigners suspected of terror ties, without charge. Copyright © 2012 AFP. All rights reserved. ©2012 Google.



Photos From Our Recent Press Conference

posted on April 28, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Julie Oliver Source: The Ottawa Citizen Date: April 25, 2012 Mohamad Harkat, Ottawa
Mohamed Harkat smiles at a press conference in Ottawa, April 25, 2012. Photo by Julie Oliver for The Ottawa Citizen. All rights reserved.

See more of Julie Oliver's photos of the press conference.



Minor victory for Harkat in fight against deportation

posted on April 26, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Michael Aubry
Source: The Ottawa Sun
URL: [link]
Date: April 25, 2012

OTTAWA - Suspected terrorist Mohamed Harkat made significant headway in his fight against deportation on Wednesday.

The Federal Court of Appeal overturned electronic phone record evidence that Harkat’s lawyer said was pivotal in the case against him.

The records were recorded by CSIS and were said to pin terrorist ties to Harkat, but they’ve since been destroyed.

A three-panel judge said the records could no longer be used against him because he must be able to know what evidence is arrayed against him.

“My first response, my eyes started tearing down and my heart started pounding hard and I was shocked,” Hakart said.

“One day,, I’m going to clear my name. It gave me hope.”

But on Wednesday the Court of Appeal upheld the use of “special advocates,” who represent Harkat and are shown secret evidence denied to Harkat’s lawyers.

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Harkat deserves new hearing, federal appeal court rules

posted on April 26, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Andrew Duffy and Don Butler
Source: The Ottawa Citizen
URL: [link]
Date: April 26, 2012

[PHOTO: Mohamed Harkat, centre, with lawyers Matt Webber, left, and Norm Boxall, holds a press conference Wednesday in Ottawa after the Federal Court of Appeal said he deserves a new hearing to determine if he’s a threat to national security.]

OTTAWA — Mohamed Harkat has been sleeping poorly of late. The Ottawa man knew the Federal Court of Appeal was about to make a decision that could have life or death consequences for him.

Depending on how the court ruled, Harkat — who was arrested in 2002 on a security certificate and has been in prison or under house arrest ever since — was facing deportation to his native Algeria, where he feared he would be tortured or killed.

That threat receded Wednesday — perhaps for good — after the appeal court ruled that Harkat, 43, deserves a new hearing to determine if he’s a threat to national security.

“It’s not over, but at least one day I’m going to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said a visibly relieved Harkat, who couldn’t seem to stop smiling.

“It gives me another day to breathe on this earth. It’s just a matter of time to clear my name and declare I’m innocent.”

The appeal court found Harkat’s right to a fair hearing was compromised by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), which destroyed recordings of taped conversations from the mid-1990s.




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Mohamed Harkat remporte une victoire partielle en Cour fédérale d'appel

posted on April 26, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

Source: Radio-Canada URL: [link] Date: 25 avril 2012 press conference,  april 25, 2012
Mohamed Harkat après le jugement de la Cour fédérale d'appel.

Mohamed Harkat, soupçonné d'être un agent d'Al-Qaïda, remporte mercredi une victoire partielle en Cour fédérale d'appel. Le tribunal confirme la constitutionnalité du système canadien des certificats de sécurité dans le dossier de Harkat. La cour estime toutefois que certaines preuves déposées contre Harkat devront être exclues d'un nouvel examen du certificat de sécurité contre lui. Le tribunal juge que les enregistrements originaux de ces conversations ont été détruits par les autorités. Par ailleurs, la Cour fédérale d'appel juge constitutionnel le recours aux "avocats spéciaux" responsables de veiller aux intérêts de l'accusé lors d'audiences à huis clos. Réactions des proches de Harkat

Le jugement est bien accueilli par le Comité justice pour Mohamed Harkat. « Ça veut simplement dire qu'il ne sera pas déporté demain matin. Ce n'est pas fini. Le cauchemar pour lui continue. » — Christian Legeais, porte-parole du Comité justice pour Mohamed Harkat. Sophie Harkat, la femme du principal intéressé, se dit pour sa par surprise par la décision du tribunal. Elle est soulagée, mais est consciente que les démarches sont loin d'être terminées. « Ce n'est pas la décision idéale pour nous, parce que ça va encore étirer les choses. On veut abolir ce processus-là parce qu'un processus comme ça dans une démocratie ne devrait pas exister. » — Sophie Harkat, la femme de Mohamed Harkat Le résident d'Ottawa pourrait être expulsé du Canada en vertu d'un certificat selon lequel il représente une menace à la sécurité, en raison de ses présumés liens terroristes. L'homme de 43 ans, d'origine algérienne, a été arrêté en 2002, mais il nie toute activité terroriste. Il a été remis en liberté sous des conditions très strictes. En complément

Audio - Le journaliste René Hardy donne les détails du jugement de la Cour fédérale d'appel dans le dossier de Mohamed Harkat. Vidéo - Le journaliste Gilles Taillon explique la décision de la Cour fédérale d'appel dans le dossier de Mohamed Harkat. Tous droits réservés © Société Radio-Canada 2012.



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