Harkat's evidence `evasive . . . implausible,' federal government lawyer arguesposted on February 28, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink
Source: The Ottawa Citizen
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.
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Harkat appeal puts new security certificate law to a renewed testposted on February 28, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink
Source: The Ottawa Citizen
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.
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Harkat federal appeals case beginsposted on February 22, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink
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[video] Highlights From Our February 16th Press Conference in Ottawaposted on February 22, 2012 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink
Harkat lawyer seeks end to security certificate process at appeal courtposted on February 21, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink
Expression of of Support From Mahjoub lawyer Johanne Doyonposted on February 20, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink
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:
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:
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.
Déclaration de Le Coalition pour la surveillance internationale des libertés civilesposted on February 20, 2012 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink
Jeudi, 16 février, 2012
Propos de Roch Tassé
Coalition pour la surveillance internationale des libertés civiles
En 2007, la Cour Supreme concluait unanimement que les dispositions de la Loi sur l’immigration et la protection des réfugiés concernant les certificats de sécurité étaient anti-constitutionnels et incompatibles avec la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés. La Cour reconnaissait que la non-divulgation d’informations utilisées dans la décision de détenir ou de déporter une personne est une violation de l’article 7 de la Charte, qui guarantit “… le droit à la vie, liberté et sécurité de sa personne ; qu’il ne peut être porté atteinte à ce droit qu’en conformité avec les principes de justice fondamentale”. Le Parlement avait un an pour corriger la situation.
Un plus tard, le gouvernement modifiait les disposition avec l’introduction de “l’avocat special”, à qui on accordait des pouvoirs limités d’agir au nom des détenus, mais sans régler le problème de fonds.
Le nouveau mécanisme permet toujours l’utilisation d’informations secrètes qui demeurent innaccessibles à la personne visée et à la défense. Il rend encore possible de détenir ou de déporter un individu, non pas sur la base de preuves solides requises par une cour de justice, mais sur la base de rapports et de conclusions du SCRS et de ses partenaires. Les critères de preuve admissible sont les plus bas de tout le système judiciaire canadien. Certaines informations utilisées peuvent être le fruit de la torture. Bien que l’avocat spécial puisse contester les rapports et les conclusions des agences de renseignement, il ne peut contre-intéroger la source des renseignements utilisés, par exemple un détenu dans une prison étrangère, ou un agent d’un autre pays.
Ultimement, le nouveau régime qui menace de mener à la deportation de Mohamed Harkat ou qui continue de justifer la détention de Mohammad Mahjoub depuis bientôt 12 ans, ne répond pas aux exigences du jugement de la Cour Suprême. Il perpétue la menace de la déportation vers la torture, et faute de déportation, ne règle pas la question de la détention indéfinie.
Un tel abus de justice est inacceptable et nous sommes d’avis que le cas doit retourner devant la Cour Suprême.
La seule façon de respecter les exigences guaranties par la Charte, et en accord avec les principes de justice fondamentale, est une poursuite en vertue du code criminel, ou de nouvelles dispositions avec des critères de preuve équivalents. S’il existe des preuves contre eux, les individus visés doivent avoir la possibilité de se defendre lors d’un process public et equitable, incluant l’accès aux elements de preuves utilisés contre eux.
D’ici là, nous demandons au gouvernement de suspendre la déportation de Mohamed Harkat.
Statement of Support from The Canadian Civil Liberties Associationposted on February 20, 2012 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) continues to be concerned that Canada’s Security Certificate process unjustifiably impairs key constitutional rights, including due process and compliance with the principles of fundamental justice. We are concerned that Named Individuals continue to be unaware of the full details of the case against them, and continue to be impaired in making full defence. We argue that the introduction of Special Advocates does not cure these concerns, because the Special Advocate is also constrained in communications with the Named I ndividual. We are concerned that evidence obtained from torture has been found by Canadian courts to have formed the bases of some Certificates. We are concerned that Named Individuals face possible deportation to countries, where these Individuals fear they risk being tortured. Finally we are concerned that by using Security Certificates against non- Canadians, we are creating a second tier of justice for non - Canadians or permanent residents. CCLA believes that the Security Certificate process is not compliant with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, does not demonstrably enhance national security, and fails to comply with Canada’s international law commitment to the absolute prohibition against torture.