Source: CBC News
Date: April 25, 2012
Mohamed Harkat is no closer to deportation today after the Federal Court of Appeal in Ottawa ordered his case back to a federal court judge, saying some of his rights had been violated.
Harkat, a former Ottawa pizza delivery man, was arrested in 2002 and is facing removal from Canada under a certificate that declares him a security threat due to alleged terrorist links. Mohamed Harkat has been in and out of court fighting a deportation order since his arrest in 2002.
A judge who scrutinized the certificate said Harkat maintained ties to Osama bin Laden's terror network, including Ahmed Said Khadr — the late father of Toronto's Omar Khadr, who has spent years in a U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Harkat, 43, has repeatedly denied any involvement with political extremism.
His lawyers argued to the Federal Court of Appeal that the security certificate system was unconstitutional, and said Harkat's rights were violated during the process because he was denied access to the evidence against him.
The three-judge panel found Harkat's rights were violated because he was denied access to electronic recordings that have since been destroyed.
The summaries of that evidence can now no longer be used against Harkat and requires the case to be reheard by the judge, said Court of Appeal Judge Gilles Létourneau in a written decision.
The panel also found that the judge erred in finding CSIS informers fall into a privileged class who are granted conditions of anonymity.
Security certificates constitutional
by Kirk Makin Source: The Globe and Mail URL: [link] Date: April 25, 2012
A contentious terrorism provision creating the use of “special advocates” who are privy to secret government evidence is constitutional, the Federal Court of Appeal ruled today.
But the federal government’s victory triumph was tempered by a finding that the rights of suspected terrorist Mohamed Harkat were violated by the use of electronic recordings that have since been destroyed.
Any such evidence can only be used against Mr. Harkat if he was privy to the contents, the court said. It sent the case back to a trial judge for reconsideration based only on the portions that are properly admissible.
In another important victory for those targeted under the security certificate process, the three-judge panel found that Mr. Harkat’s trial judge was wrong to create a special “class privilege” for informers in these cases.
The Canadian Federal Court of Appeal has released its decision in the case of Mohamed Harkat vs. The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration and The Ministry of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
The decision was made by a panel of 3 judges.
You can download and read the Judgement below. English only. It consists of two documents: The Judgment, and The Reasons For Judgement,
The Judgement: (a 2-page summary of the decision )
by Ian Macleod Source: The Ottawa Citizen URL: [link] Date: April 8,2012
Information from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency used by Canada to link accused Ottawa terrorist Mohamed Harkat to “al-Qaeda’s banker” was untrue, according to a former senior CIA case officer.
The man thought to be Osama bin Laden’s main financial fixer “wasn’t the senior member of al-Qaeda that we had assessed. He wasn’t even a member of al-Qaeda,” retired U.S. spy Glenn Carle, who interrogated the man at secret CIA black site prisons in 2002, told an Ottawa gathering to promote his blistering memoir about the case, The Interrogator: An Education.
Yet as recently as 2010, Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) evidence and testimony before the Federal Court of Canada continued to point to Harkat’s relationship with Haji Pacha Wazir as evidence of Harkat’s ties to the bin Laden terror network.
It is the second time the veracity of key prosecution evidence against Harkat has been questioned in the government’s decade-long campaign to have him declared a national security threat and deported to his native Algeria.
Another supposed high-level al-Qaeda player named Abu Zubaydah, whom federal prosecutors also linked to Harkat, has since been exposed by some U.S. al-Qaeda hunters as a small-time operative who was found to be “certifiably insane” after his 2002 capture.
Source: The Law Union of Ontario
Date: February, 2012
In 2007 the Supreme Court unanimously struck down the existing security certificate regime, holding that the section 7 guarantee of a fair hearing required either that the secret case be disclosed to the named person, or that a substantial, meaningful substitute be found. Parliament responded by introducing special advocates - security-cleared counsel charged with representing the interests of the named person in closed hearings. This appeal calls into serious question the adequacy of the special advocate regime as a substitute for full disclosure to and participation of the named person, especially given the limits placed on the special advocates' ability to communicate about the proceedings and to cross-examine human sources.
It also comes in the wake of incredibly troubling revelations about the extent of CSIS' reliance on information obtained as a result of torture, both in these proceedings and more generally. First to come to light was a 2008 letter from Jim Judd, then the Director of CSIS, to the Minister of Public Safety, warning that the current security certificate proceedings - including the Harkat case - could be rendered unsustainable if the opposition succeeded in passing an amendment to exclude information believed on reasonable grounds to have been obtained as a result of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. This was followed more recently by the release of a 2010 directive from Public Safety Minister Vic Toews instructing that where there is a serious risk to public safety, CSIS can use and share torture-tainted information in order to protect lives and property.
Information derived from torture has no place in Canadian society, much less in Canadian courtrooms. The Law Union of Ontario calls on the Federal Court of Appeal to vindicate Mr. Harkat's constitutional right to natural justice and a fair hearing, and to affirm Canada's commitment to the abolition of torture throughout the world.
Harkat's evidence `evasive . . . implausible,' federal government lawyer argues
By Andrew Duffy Source: The Ottawa Citizen URL: [link] Date: February 23, 2012
OTTAWA - A federal lawyer says an Ottawa man facing deportation under a federal security certificate had ample opportunity to defend himself from terrorism allegations under Canada's revamped security law, but chose not to use that opportunity.
David Tyndale told the Federal Court of Appeal Wednesday that Mohamed Harkat could have given a detailed defence against federal allegations he associated with terrorists but instead chose to be evasive and contradictory. Harkat's defence, Tyndale argued, was not limited to mere denials as his lawyers have suggested.
``That's not what Mr. Harkat was limited to: It's what he chose to do on a number of occasions,'' Tyndale told the appellate court.
Harkat's defence team has asked the Appeal Court to strike down the federal government's revamped security certificate law, introduced in 2008, as unconstitutional.
The previous version, used to detain and deport foreign-born terror suspects, was effectively struck down by the Supreme Court in February 2007. The high court said the process was so secretive it denied defendants the fundamental right to meet the case against them.
The Harkat case is the first to test whether the government's revised security certificate law can withstand a challenge under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Harkat's lawyers say the process still does not allow defendants to meet the case against them since they're only given an outline of allegations due to national security concerns. The allegations, they say, lack critical details, such as the information's origin.
Harkat, an Algerian refugee, is appealing a December 2010 Federal Court decision by Judge Simon Noel, who upheld the government's case against Harkat, declaring him an active and dangerous member of the al-Qaida network.
Tyndale said that although Harkat was not allowed access to classified information, his legal proxies - lawyers known as special advocates - were.
by Andrew Duffy Source: The Ottawa Citizen URL: [link] Date: February 21, 2012
[PHOTO: Mohamed Harkat’s case is the first to test the revised law used to deport foreign-born terror suspects with a challenge under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The previous version was effectively struck down by the Supreme Court in February 2007. Parliament drafted the new law in 2008. Photograph by: Jean Levac, Ottawa Citizen]
OTTAWA — Canada’s new and improved security certificate law continues to deny terror suspects the detailed information they need to defend themselves, the Federal Court of Appeal has heard.
Norm Boxall, a lawyer for Ottawa’s Mohamed Harkat, told the appeal court Tuesday that the government introduced important safeguards when the law was remade in 2008 but did not go far enough.
“This scheme is admittedly better, but it falls short,” Boxall said in arguing that the law should again be declared unconstitutional.
The Harkat case is the first to test the revised law with a challenge under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The previous version, used to deport foreign-born terror suspects, was effectively struck down by the Supreme Court in February 2007. The high court said the process was so secretive it denied defendants the fundamental right to meet the case against them.
by Danielle Bell
Source: The Ottawa Sun
Date: February 21, 2012
Accused terrorist Mohamed Harkat has nearly exhausted legal avenues but refuses to consider what will happen if he loses his latest battle.
Lawyers for Harkat at the Federal Court of Appeal on Tuesday argued secret proceedings, the destruction of original material by CSIS, and limitations of special advocates were among reasons why he cannot effectively challenge or meet his case, which violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Harkat, who is alleged to have ties to al-Qaida and an Egyptian terrorist organization linked to the 9/11 attacks, has been fighting for nearly a decade to stay in Canada, since he was arrested on a federal security certificate.
“It creates a situation where the public has to be taking it on faith,” said Norm Boxall, one of Harkat’s lawyers. “It creates potential damage to the administration of justice and the reputation of the court that’s dealing with it.”
Harkat faces deportation and what he contends would be torture or death if he is sent back to Algeria.
In 2007, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled the security certificate unconstitutional because it relied on secret evidence, which denied his right to a fair trial. Tuesday marked the first day of appeal arguments about the constitutionality of the security certificate since the government introduced special advocates in 2008.
While the scheme has improved, said Boxall, it remains less than adequate since special advocates, who do not have the same powers as public counsel, are so limited. Harkat’s certificate was upheld in 2010 by a federal court judge.
Being denied the basis to challenge the credibility of informants or refute allegations is unfair, said Boxall, and the case is then essentially being decided in secret.
“The principle of fundamental justice is not met simply by saying Mr. Harkat had the opportunity to respond,” said Boxall. “It’s not enough to respond. You have to be given the opportunity to challenge the information.”
Outside court, Harkat, who maintains his innocence and denies links to terrorism, said simply he will wait for the decision.
“I hope the judge understands all the problems with this legislation and that I don’t have a fair trial,” Harkat. “It just goes on and on and on. I don’t want to jump steps ahead. I’ll see what the judge decides.”
Depending on the ruling, there could be a new hearing, according to Boxall outside court.
The appeal proceeding is expected to conclude on Thursday.
danielle.bell AT sunmedia.ca
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.
Here is the contact information for Sophie Harkat.
Email Sophie: [email]
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Our Legal Team:
Barbara Jackman, Lead Public Counsel for Mohamed Harkat
Jackman, Nazami & Associates
Barristers and Solicitors
596 St. Clair Avenue West
Tel.: (416) 653-9964
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Christian Legeais, spokesperson and bilingual media contact: