'We both had faith in the system'

posted on March 30, 2005 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

Original author: Andrew Duffy Source: The Ottawa Citizen URL: [link] (subscribers only) Date: March 24, 2005 Harkat's wife says 'Oh my God. Oh my God,' Mohamed Harkat repeated upon hearing a judge had labelled him a terrorist based on evidence he was never allowed to see. As he waits to learn his fate, the Algerian native and wife, Sophie, now feel let down by that system, she tells Andrew Duffy.

When told that a Federal Court judge had labelled him a terrorist, Mohamed Harkat banged his head against the glass partition that separated him from his wife, Sophie, at the Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre. "Oh my God. Oh my God," he repeated as he absorbed the meaning of the judgment. Tuesday's decision by Judge Eleanor Dawson means Mr. Harkat will likely remain in custody while government officials decide whether he can be deported to Algeria, where he believes he will be tortured or killed. Sophie Harkat told the Citizen in an interview yesterday that Tuesday's meeting with her husband was more difficult than the one after his sudden arrest in December 2002. "It was horrible ... for me to face him and tell him he's a terrorist in the eyes of the government," she said yesterday. "We both had faith in the court system; we both believed he could finally be getting out. That was the biggest disappointment."

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`Open custody' considered

posted on March 30, 2005 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

Original author: Sean Gordon, Ottawa Bureau
Source: The Toronto Star
URL: [link] (subscribers only)
Date: March 24, 2005


OTTAWA-The federal government is willing to amend its controversial security certificate process to allow the "controlled release" of terrorism suspects who currently face either indefinite detention or deportation to countries where they may be tortured.

Justice Minister Irwin Cotler said the certificate law, which currently applies only to asylum-seekers and permanent residents, could eventually cover Canadian citizens.

In response to questions from opposition members, Cotler said he would examine changing the security certificate statutes to allow judges to order house arrest, curfews, electronic monitoring and other forms of open custody.

Testifying before Parliament's justice committee, Cotler indicated he is also open to providing for the appointment of independent counsel in security certificate cases.

Copyright Toronto Star Newspapers Limited. All rights reserved.

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Terror suspect's backers vow to continue fight

posted on March 30, 2005 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

Original author: Canadian Press (CP)
URL: [link]
Source: The Globe and Mail
Date: March 24, 2005


Ottawa -- Supporters of terror suspect Mohamed Harkat vowed yesterday to keep battling federal security certificates such as the one that has kept Mr. Harkat in prison for more than two years.

A Federal Court judge on Tuesday upheld a security certificate issued against Mr. Harkat, setting the stage for his deportation to Algeria.

Madam Justice Eleanor Dawson concluded there were reasonable grounds to believe Mr. Harkat had "supported terrorist activity" as a member of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, based on her assessment of secret evidence against him.

Mr. Harkat's supporters denounced the decision as another step in an unjust process.

© Copyright 2005 Bell Globemedia Publishing Inc.
All Rights Reserved.

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More coverage of Montreal Rally

posted on March 29, 2005 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

Photo and comments by Ron Saba of Montreal Planet Magazine. Thanks Ron. Click to Enlarge


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Terror suspect awash in despair as he awaits deportation

posted on March 28, 2005 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

Original author: Tobi Cohen Source: The Ottawa Sun URL: [link] Date: March 24, 2005 'The end of my story' Terror suspect awash in despair as he awaits deportation

Hopeless and frightened, terror suspect Mohamed Harkat likens this week's Federal Court decision to uphold the security certificate that has kept him locked up for 27 months without charge to a death sentence. "I feel now just like somebody blocked my life. Took my life away," he told the Sun yesterday during an interview at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre. "I see it like it's at the end of my story." His body trembling more and more as he spoke of his hearing and the allegations against him, Harkat struggled to fight back tears. "(Tuesday) I never slept. I cried all night in my bed," he said from behind the Plexiglas barrier. "I just feel like my brain is not working anymore. "Before I thought about getting out and starting to build myself and coming back and catching up with what I left 21/2 years ago ... I miss my family. I miss my wife. Now I'm just disappointed. I'm just waiting for what's next."

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Harkat supporters slam 'flawed' justice system

posted on March 28, 2005 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

Original author: Tobi Cohen Source: The Ottawa Sun URL: [link] Date: March 24, 2005 Marchers demand stop to Canada's 'secret trials'

Despite his loss of hope following the latest setback in his attempt to clear his name, Mohamed Harkat said knowing so many people are standing behind him does bring some comfort. "I just want to thank my supporters and my wife. All the people who supported me from coast to coast," he said yesterday from the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre. Just two hours later, more than 100 of those supporters gathered at the Human Rights Monument to protest Tuesday's Federal Court decision to uphold his security certificate. "The process continues to be as flawed as it has been since the security certificate process was introduced," said Jessica Squires of the Justice For Mohamed Harkat Committee which hosted the event. Noting the security certificate process is a gross breach of human rights and fundamental justice, as it allows people to be detained without charge and tried in court without the benefit of being privy to all the evidence, the committee is calling for the entire security certificate system to be abolished.

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Security certificate opponents 'rage' against government

posted on March 28, 2005 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

Original author: Canadian Press
Source: The Ottawa Sun
URL: [link]
Date: March 27, 2005


MONTREAL -- Four days after a judge set the stage for Mohamed Harkat's deportation, his wife lashed out at the federal government for holding the Ottawa terror suspect without charges. "I have enormous rage against the Canadian government," said Sophie Harkat, who travelled to Montreal yesterday to join several dozen others in protesting national security certificates used to detain five alleged terrorists without trial or charges.

"I'm a Canadian citizen and I don't have the right to know how my husband came to be detained for 27 months without knowing the charges or the evidence ... it's unacceptable."

Last Tuesday, a Federal Court judge upheld the certificate issued against Harkat, who's been detained since December 2002 on suspicion of being an al-Qaida sleeper agent. Harkat faces deportation to his native Algeria.

Suspected Moroccan terrorist Adil Charkaoui, another man detained under a security certificate, also blasted the feds at the rally.

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Rights and national security collide in case of detained alleged terrorists

posted on March 28, 2005 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

Original author: Canadian Press
Source: 900News.com
URL: [link]
Date: March 26, 2005

TORONTO (CP) - Canada's system of jailing suspected foreign terrorists indefinitely or deporting them to countries where they face a real risk of torture is under growing scrutiny and will likely have to change significantly, several experts say.

Judges, politicians and civil libertarians have been grappling with a system that does away with some of the most basic protections Canadians cherish in the interests of national security.

Those protections include the right not to be detained arbitrarily, the right to know the evidence the state has when it detains someone and the right to test that evidence in open court.

The issue of how best to protect the country while safeguarding basic individual rights is taxing democracies around the world.

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Adil Charkaoui joins Montreal protest against security certificates

posted on March 27, 2005 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

Original author: Eilis Quinn
Source: Macleans.ca
URL: [link]
Date: March 26, 2005


MONTREAL (CP) - Suspected Moroccan terrorist Adil Charkaoui joined several dozen people Saturday to protest national security certificates used to detain alleged terrorists without trial or charges.

"I had a normal life like everybody and then one day, (the Canadian Security Intelligence Service) decided I was a threat to national security," said Charkaoui, 31, who was detained under a certificate for almost two years before being released under stringent bail conditions in February.

"They arrested me, they didn't show any proof and they told me I was very dangerous," he said, pulling up his pantleg to show the electronic ankle bracelet he must wear.

"I am just asking for justice ... I want the government to give me a fair trial to clear my name and show I'm not a terrorist."

Charkaoui, who is fighting the security certificate, is among five men who have been detained under the certificates since 2000.

The small crowd walked along downtown Ste-Catherine Street carrying signs and banners, calling for the end of "racist scapegoating."

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Harkat's wife vows to fight his deportation

posted on March 26, 2005 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

Source: CBC News Ottawa
URL: [link]
Date: March 24, 2005


OTTAWA - Sophie Harkat is vowing to fight to keep her husband in Canada. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service believes Mohamed Harkat is an al-Qaeda sleeper agent who's been living in Ottawa since the late '90s.

Earlier this week, a federal court judge upheld the security certificate that has been used to keep Harkat in jail for more than two years.

About 100 of Harkat's supporters gathered in Ottawa, Wednesday, to protest his expected deportation to Algeria. Sophie Harkat spoke briefly to the gathering at the human-rights monument on Elgin Street. She promised to fight her husband's deportation.

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