Mohamed Harkat

Harkat lawyer seeks end to security certificate process at appeal court

posted on February 21, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by The Canadian Press Source: The Winnipeg Free Press URL: [link] Date: February 21, 2012 [PHOTO: Mohamed Harkat is seen during a break at the Federal Court of Appeal on the first day of arguments on the constitutionality of security certificates in Ottawa Tuesday Feb.21, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld] OTTAWA - A lawyer for Mohamed Harkat says the security certificate process being used to deport the Algerian refugee is unconstitutional. Harkat, a former Ottawa pizza delivery man, faces removal from Canada under a certificate that declares him a security threat due to alleged terrorist links. He denies any involvement with political extremism. Lawyer Norm Boxall is telling the Federal Court of Appeal the security certificate system is fundamentally unfair because Harkat doesn't know details of the allegations against him. The Supreme Court of Canada struck down the system five years ago, saying it violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. But the government revamped the process and reissued certificates against Harkat and others in early 2008. A judge ruled in late 2010 that the retooled certificate system was constitutional. Harkat is challenging that ruling this week. © 2012 Winnipeg Free Press. All Rights Reserved.

Expression of of Support From Mahjoub lawyer Johanne Doyon

posted on February 20, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

As public counsel of Mr Mahjoub and lawyers, we support the constitutional challenge of IRPA in Harkat which is necessary and in the interest of Justice.

The amendments that produced what is now Division 9 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) following the Supreme Court of Canada judgment in Charkaoui I (2007) were the Parliament’s attempt to find a “substantial substitute” for proper disclosure to the named person in information relied on by the Ministers against non-citizens like Mr. Harkat or Mr. Mahjoub.

However, this continuation of what is nothing more than secret trials against individuals in Canada still fails to respect the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (‘Charter’) and still fails to meet the requirements of the judgments rendered in Charkaoui I.

The case will have a significant impact on our client’s case, in which disclosure, the use of information gleaned from torture or otherwise illegally obtained, and the use of unfair/unethical practices in the investigation have also come to light.

In Mr. Mahjoub’s case, in February 19, 2010, the Federal Court indicated that a “substantial portion of the information in the SIR originates from foreign agencies” and that Mr. Mahjoub could not be informed as to which of these foreign agencies have received requests for waivers of the third party rule and what the replies to any such requests would have been. The Court also found that Mr. Mahjoub would not receive disclosure of a summary of the security intelligence information emanating from foreign agencies. In the same judgement, the Court reserved its decision as to whether this non-disclosure violates Mr. Mahjoub’s rights under section 7 of the Charter.

This alleged undisclosed information relates to “allegations that are critical to the Ministers’ case.” A CSIS witness recognized the importance of disclosure of the information in question, in light of its relation to the Ministers’ central allegations:

“[43] The SAs note that the information in question is on the alleged xxxxxxxxxxx and on Mr Mahjoub’s alleged xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. These allegations are critical to the Ministers’ case. The SAs point out that the Service’s witness, jfdkfjlsjfkd, recognized the important of disclosing such central allegations (…)” [emphasis added]

In light of this information and in light of other experiences with the Security Certificate process, even the Special Advocates have taken the position that the Special Advocate procedure is not an adequate substitute for Mr. Mahjoub’s ability to know the Ministers’ case; that they were not in a position to deal with these allegations or call evidence to rebut them; and that only Mr. Mahjoub and his public counsel could do so:

“[44] The SAs note that, pursuant to paragraph 83(1)(e) of the IRPA and section 7 of the Charter, Mr Mahjoub is entitled to be reasonably informed of the case against him. The SAs argue that this does not require that Mr. Mahjoub be provided with xxxxxxxxxxxxxx that supports the main allegations, but rather a summary which provides the “gist” of the information, as they proposed. The SAs further argue that with regards to the information on fgjgjgjgj the special advocate procedure is not an adequate substitute for Mr. Mahjoub’s ability to know the Ministers’ case. The SAs submit they would not be in a position to deal with these allegations or to call evidence to rebut these allegations. Only Mr. Mahjoub, with the assistance of his public counsel, could do this.” [emphasis added]

However, the motion filed more than a year ago to quash the certificate and to release Mr. Mahjoub on this basis was postponed by the Court to be heard only at the end of the process.

Meanwhile the Court found that CSIS used information derived from torture, and didn’t have a mechanism to filtered the information admissible under IRPA. Not only did CSIS deliberately decide not to exclude information obtained unlawfully and as the result of the use of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, but also engaged in the interception and monitoring of all conversations between Mr. Mahjoub and his lawyers during the investigation and the Court proceedings from approximately 1996 to 2010.

As a result, a motion to the effect that the conduct of CSIS and the Ministers in the investigation, the issuance of the certificates, and the continuation of the proceedings against Mr. Mahjoub amounts to an abuse of process, is pending due to this unprecedented, negligent and unfair conduct.

Security certificate opponents rally around Harkat as he heads to court

posted on February 20, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Jim Bronskill (CP) Source: Global TV News - Regina URL: [link] Date: February 16, 2012 OTTAWA - Opponents of Canada's security certificate regime are rallying around Mohamed Harkat as he heads to court to try to scuttle the controversial deportation tool. Harkat, a former pizza delivery man in Ottawa, faces removal to his native Algeria under a security certificate that declares him a threat to Canada due to alleged terrorist links. He denies any involvement with political extremism. Opponents say the security certificate system is fundamentally unfair because detainees are not given full details of the allegations against them. The Supreme Court of Canada struck down the system five years ago, saying it violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. But the government revamped the process and reissued certificates against Harkat and others in early 2008. A judge ruled in late 2010 that the retooled certificate system was constitutional — a decision Harkat will challenge next week in the Federal Court of Appeal. Alex Neve of Amnesty International Canada argued at a news conference Thursday the federal government failed to do a proper overhaul to ensure fairness. "Instead they tinkered," he said. "And the tinkering did not address the serious shortcomings." Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said the certificates represent an affront to all Canadians, not just Harkat. "Today it's him, tomorrow it could be you." Harkat was arrested more than nine years ago on suspicion of being an al-Qaida sleeper agent. Though allowed to live at home with his wife, he continues to wear an electronic tracking bracelet on his ankle, must check in with authorities weekly and cannot leave town without permission. © The Canadian Press, 2012

De nouveaux appuis pour Mohamed Harkat

posted on February 20, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

Par: Rene Hardy Source: Radio-Canada URL: [link] Date: 18 fév 2012 À quelques jours d'une nouvelle comparution devant la Cour fédérale d'appel, Mohamed Harkat soupconné d'activités terroristes, reçoit l'appui de deux députés de l'opposition et de groupes de défense des droits la personne. Ils demandent au gouvernement Harper d'abolir les certificats de sécurité. La chef du parti Vert, Elizabeth May, et le député néo-démocrate, Don Davies, estiment que la procédure va à l'encontre des valeurs canadiennes et souhaitent que la Cour fédérale d'appel la déclare inconstitutionnelle. Le coordonnateur de la Coalition pour la surveillance internationale des libertés civiles demande lui aussi l'annulation de ce système qui permet d'utiliser des informations secrètes inaccessibles à l'accusé et à la défense. Une procédure inacceptable Roch Tassé juge inacceptable le fait que des personnes puissent être détenues et déportées sur la base de rapports du Service canadien du renseignement de sécurité plutôt que sur des preuves présentées en cour. Depuis sa libération en 2006, Mohamed Harkat demeure soumis à une série de mesures dont le port d'un bracelet électronique. Mohamed Harkat n'a jamais cessé de clamer son innocence et de tenter de blanchir son nom. Il fait face à la déportation vers l'Algérie, son pays d'origine. (c)

Lawyers for Harkat argue revised security certificate law still leaves defendants in the dark

posted on January 21, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Andrew Duffy
Source: The Ottawa Citizen
URL: [link]
Date: January 20, 2012

OTTAWA — Lawyers for Ottawa’s Mohamed Harkat have asked the Federal Court of Appeal to strike down the country’s security certificate law for a second time.

The Harkat case will be the first to test whether the government’s revised security certificate law can withstand a challenge under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The previous version of the law, used to deport foreign-born terror suspects, was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in February 2007.

In that ruling, Canada’s high court said the security certificate process was so secretive that it denied defendants the fundamental right to meet the case against them.

The government subsequently introduced a new law, which gave terror suspects the right to be represented in secret hearings by “special advocates” — defence lawyers with security clearance. Special advocates are allowed only limited contact with the accused.

Harkat’s legal team contends the new law still leaves defendants too much in the dark.

“The only evidence that truly matters is unknown to him (Harkat),” wrote lawyers Matthew Webber and Norm Boxall in a court brief.

“It is apparent that public proceedings are little more than a façade, with little to no direct evidence shown to Harkat.”

For example, they said, the federal government publicly alleged that Harkat spent time in Afghanistan. But the Algerian-born Harkat was told nothing about the timing, duration, purpose or destination of the alleged sojourn, which made it next to impossible to refute.

It is not enough, the lawyers argued, for the government to offer the “veneer of public disclosure” when it is only through detail that Harkat can attack the validity of such allegations.

[ Read the rest ... ]

Security certificate injustice for Mohamed Harkat: Nine years on

posted on December 12, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Justice For Mohamed Harkat Committee
URL: [link]
Date: December 9, 2011

Think back to December 10, 2002 -- nine years ago this weekend, International Human Rights Day.

Perhaps on that day you were aware of the human rights significance, and perhaps not. But more importantly, what were you doing with your life back then? Were you in a different job? A different city? Perhaps in the interim you earned a post-secondary degree or diploma, or possibly more than one. How many job interviews did you attend in those nine years? How much money have you earned? Did you have children? Did you visit relatives in another province? Perhaps take a honeymoon? Travel abroad?

None of these things have been possible for Mohamed Harkat. This weekend -- International Human Rights Day -- marks the ninth anniversary of the detention of Mohamed Harkat under a security certificate -- a draconian detention under the so-called Immigrant and Refugee Protection Act for which no charge is laid, and the information on which the allegation is based is kept secret from the detainee and their lawyers.

[ Read the rest ... ]

Photos of Saturday's Rally

posted on December 11, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

Click on the photo to see all the photos from our December 10th rally marking Moe's 9th anniversary of his security certificate: Mohamed Harkat
Mohamed Harkat speaking to supporters in Ottawa, December 10, 2011. Photo by Gabrielle Brunette Poirier.

Harkat anniversary rally draws dozens

posted on December 11, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Danielle Bell Source: The Ottawa Sun URL: [link] Date: December 10, 2011 See also this VIDEO report of the Rally. By Danielle Bell. Even though courts recently ruled Mohamed Harkat does have ties to terrorism, his supporters are protesting his treatment on the 9th anniversary of his charges. Dozens of people gathered at the human rights monument in downtown Ottawa on Saturday to support Harket. Harkat, an accused al-Qaida sleeper agent who has been fighting to stay in Canada since he was arrested on a federal security certificate, declared his innocence to a throng of supporters and media. Flanked by wife Sophie, Harkat said the conditions he is forced to live with have taken a toll on himself and family. “It’s my life destroyed completely,” said Harkat on Saturday. “I’ve never chatted to a criminal, I’ve never had a criminal record, I’ve never been involved with terrorism, I’ve never seen the evidence against me.” Among his conditions, Harkat cannot use the Internet, is monitored by GPS and cannot leave Ottawa without permission. An online petition in his support has gathered about 5,000 signatures. “It’s simply impossible for people like Mohamed Harkat to have a fair trial when secret evidence is involved,” said supporter Evert Hoogers, a retired postal worker. “None of that is acceptable to me.” Several speakers, including human rights activists, spoke at the rally, which included chants and banners in support Harkat. An unidentified man stood next to the Harkats, with his mouth duct-taped, hands bound and blindfolded. “This war on terrorism has been a direct attack on each and every human citizen’s human rights,” said Larry Rousseau, regional vice-president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. “If we sit back and do nothing, we will lose what we have acquired.” In December 2009, Harkat’s security certificate was upheld by a Federal Court Judge, who ruled the government had reasonable grounds to suspect Harkat of being a threat to Canadian public safety. Kevin Skerrett, with the Justice for Mohamed Harket committee, hopes awareness will further the cause. “I think as more people learn of the details of this, the more outraged they are,” said Skerrett. Harkat is appealing his case and looking forward to a court date in February. He said Saturday he is willing to take his case all the way to the Supreme Court. “Justice is delayed. That’s all I’m hoping for,” said Harket. “I’m innocent. That’s all I want, just an open trial like anybody else.” danielle.bell AT @DBellReporting Copyright © 2011 Sunmedia. All rights reserved.

Dozens rally to clear Mohamed Harkat's name

posted on December 11, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

Source: CTV Ottawa URL: [link] Date: December 10, 2011 An Ottawa man is still trying to clear his name after terror-related allegations surfaced nine years ago. Mohamed Harkat continued to deny allegations that he is an Al-Qaeda sleeper agent at a rally in Ottawa Saturday afternoon. Dozens of supporters gathered at the Human Rights Monument at the corner of Elgin and Lisgar to help draw attention to Harkat's goal. "I'm going to fight until my last breath to clear my name and to have an open and fair trial," said Harkat. Harkat says he is a refugee who fled Algeria and that he would be tortured if forced to return to his homeland. The arrest took place on Dec. 10, 2002 under a Security Certificate which allows for detention without charge. A notice sent to CTV Ottawa says Harkat has never been "afforded the opportunity to counter the allegations ... because the vast majority of the crown's case remains a secret." Due to the allegations, Harkat faces deportation and continues his fight to stay in Canada. His case will be heard by the Federal Court of Appeal in February. © 2011 CTV All rights reserved.

La détention de Mohamed Harkat dénoncée à Ottawa

posted on December 10, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

par La Presse Canadienne Source: La Presse URL: [link] Date: 10 décembre 2011 Ottawa - Des membres de différents organismes de défense des droits humains, Amnistie Internationale en tête, étaient réunis à Ottawa, samedi, pour souligner le 9e anniversaire de l'arrestation de Mohamed Harkat, survenue le 10 décembre 2002. Mohamed Harkat est l'un des trois hommes encore détenus au Canada en vertu d'un certificat de sécurité. Cette procédure juridique permet de détenir une personne pour une durée indéterminée sans accusation et sans accès à la preuve. Le Comité justice pour Mohamed Harkat soutient que les hommes ciblés par ces certificats n'ont jamais eu l'occasion de réfuter les allégations portées contre eux puisque le gouvernement garde presque toute la preuve secrète. Une manifestation s'est tenue samedi, à midi devant le Monument des droits humains à Ottawa. Christian Legeais, porte-parole du Comité justice pour Mohamed Harkat, fait partie de l'organisation de ce rassemblement. Il estime que la procédure appliquée contre l'accusé est inconstitutionnelle. Les manifestants ont profité de la Journée internationale des droits humains, pour dénoncer cette façon de faire, qui repose selon eux sur des documents obtenus sous la torture et dont les matériaux d'origine (notes, entrevues, transcriptions) ont été détruits. L'accusé fait également face à une menace de déportation vers l'Algérie, en vertu d'un jugement de la cour fédérale tombé en décembre 2010. Cette décision a été portée en appel et doit être entendue en février. M.Legeais se montre peu optimiste. «Il n'y a pas de fait, qu'il n'y a que des allégations, comment voulez-vous que l'on soit optimiste? Ça ne repose sur rien», estime-t-il. Assigné à résidence en juin 2006, après un emprisonnement de 43 mois, Mohamed Harkat porte encore un appareil GPS à la cheville et doit observer de nombreuses restrictions, mais clame toujours son innocence. © La Presse, ltée. Tous droits réservés.

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