Fighting Security Certificates

posted on March 01, 2011 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by Alex Di Pietro
Source: The Link (Concordia University, Montreal)
URL: [link]
Date: February 8, 2011


Representatives from respective community groups lashed out against the issuance of Canadian security certificates and other immigration security measures during a panel discussion in the Hall Building on Sunday.

The Government of Canada has issued security certificates to foreign nationals it deems can pose a threat to Canada. While no actual charges have been laid, the government has used secret evidence to reach a decision. The outcomes of approved security certificates consist of detention and deportation. Twenty-eight security certificates have been issued since 1991.

The common fear for those issued security certificates is that, upon being deported back to their country of origin, they will run a high risk of being to tortured.

“Ask any Canadian, left or right, if [he or she] thinks it’s correct to throw someone in jail without knowing why,” said Hassan Almrei, a Syrian-born refugee from Toronto who was detained for nearly seven-and-a-half years on suspicion of having terrorist links.

Almrei staged three hunger strikes during his detention in various Ontario prisons from 2001 until his release 2009—the last ending after he fasted for more than five months at the Kingston Immigration Holding Centre.
“My mouth was my only weapon,” said Almrei in regards to his aim of attracting public attention. He still has no idea why he was detained.

[ Read the rest ... ]

PHOTOS from The Peoples Commission Forum, Montreal, Feb. 2011

posted on February 18, 2011 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

Here are some photos taken at the event "Whose security? Our Security! Countering the National Security Agenda" held earlier this month in Montreal. The CBSA refused Mohamed Harkat permission to attend this Forum which included a dinner in his honor. Thanks to our Friend Darren Ell for taking these photos at the Montreal event and for sharing them with us. All images: © Darren Ell 2011 Personal Website: http://www.darrenell.com
Online Photo Archive: http://www.flickr.com/photos/darrenell
Wedding Photography: http://photooxygene.com


Auditorium in The Hall Building, Concordia University.


Ellen Gabriel, activist from the community of Kanehsatake


Mary Foster, one of the chief organizers of the event.


Lots of warm meals were served by volunteers.


Longtime Harkat Committee member Jo Wood speaks as Sophie Harkat and others listen. All images: © Darren Ell 2011

VIEW ALL THE PHOTOS HERE.

VIEW ALL OUR PHOTOS FROM THE PAST 8 YEARS HERE.


Justice for Harkat: no deportation to torture

posted on February 16, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Jessica Squires Source: Socialist Worker URL: [link] Date: February, 2011 On January 20, Mohamed Harkat was served with a deportation order. The recent ruling of his security certificate as “reasonable” by the federal court was automatically converted into the order. The next step will be a danger assessment by the minister of immigration or his delegate. The court also ruled in mid-January that a constitutional appeal was permissible. Both processes will take some time, and will delay any eventual deportation. Harkat is now at risk of forced removal to torture in Algeria. The conditions that led Canada to grant Harkat refugee status have not disappeared; the danger to him if deported to Algeria has multiplied because of the allegations against him. Under international law, no deportations should take place to countries where there is risk of death or torture—a principle referred to as “no refoulement.” Amnesty International has stated that there is a significant risk of torture in Algeria. Even the US State Department states in its 2008 country report on Algeria that torture and impunity “remains a problem.” The government may seek so-called “diplomatic assurances”—promises of safe treatment—from countries to which it seeks to deport individuals. But Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have concluded that “diplomatic assurances” are empty promises. A February 2009 International Commission of Jurists report also calls on governments “not to rely on diplomatic assurances or other forms of non-binding agreements to transfer individuals when there is a real risk of serious human rights violations.” Despite this, in its most recent report to the UN Committee Against Torture, Canada claims it can rely on monitoring arrangements in situations where diplomatic assurances are secured. Numerous international examples show this claim to be false. If there is the possibility of torture with impunity, there is the probability of secrecy. Diplomatic assurances cannot be relied upon under any circumstances. A Supreme Court of Canada appeal in 2007 ruled the earlier version of the security certificate law unconstitutional. The coming appeal will again draw attention to the unconstitutionality of the Canadian security certificate process. Mohamed Harkat has never been charged with a crime. He denies all allegations. He is still waiting for justice. Mobilization is essential. The focus of the Justice for Mohamed Harkat Committee is presently the new Statement Against Security Certificates. It is urgent that union locals and federations, social justice groups, and mass membership organizations of all kinds, as well as individuals, endorse the statement, which calls for due process for those detained under certificates and subsequently denied their human rights. To endorse the statement, sign online or download and print for circulation, visit www.harkatstatement.com

© 2011 Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated).



THE REAL NEWS: Canadian Secret Trial

posted on February 08, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

Source: The Real News URL: [link] Date: February, 2011 A new video report produced by Lia Tarachansky for The Real News:


Mohamed Harkat barred from attending dinner in his honour

posted on February 03, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Press Release Source: Peoples Commission Network Date: February 3, 2011 Mohamed Harkat barred from attending dinner in his honour Popular Forum: Whose Security? Our Security! Countering the national security agenda

Montreal, 3 February 2011 – A community dinner in Montreal in support of Mohamed Harkat – engaged in an eight-year battle against deportation to torture on the basis of secret suspicions - will have to go ahead without its guest of honour. Mohamed Harkat learned late last week that the Canadian Border Services Agency refused his request to attend the dinner, organized as the closing event of a Montreal conference on national security. CBSA, which is in charge of enforcing the strict bail conditions imposed on Mr. Harkat, stated that Mr. Harkat could not attend because of the “the nature of the proposed event, its anticipated participants, as well as its venue”. The event, a free vegetarian dinner, will take place at a Montreal university. The agency referred specifically to Mr. Harkat’s condition of non-association with “any person whom Mr. Harkat knows, or ought to know, supports terrorism or violent Jihad or [...] who poses a threat to national security.” "The way in which national security can be used as a blanket justification for such abusive, arbitrary decisions is exactly why it is necessary to hold this important forum," stated the People's Commission Network, which is organizing the Whose Security? Our Security! conference.

[ Read the rest ... ]


Alternatives sought to deporting terror suspects

posted on January 28, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by The Canadian Press
Source: CBC News
URL: [link]
Date: January 27, 2011

The federal government is quietly studying alternatives to deporting terrorism suspects under the much-maligned national security certificate as attempts to remove them get bogged down in the courts.

The effort reflects candid federal admissions that it's almost impossible to send non-citizens with alleged terror links to their home countries because they may be tortured or killed.

Currently, three people arrested under security certificates — Mohamed Harkat of Algeria, and Mahmoud Jaballah and Mohamed Zeki Mahjoub, both from Egypt — are out on bail under strict surveillance as their cases slowly grind through the courts.

Harkat was recently served with a deportation order, but his lawyers argue he should not be removed while the security certificate system is still under judicial review.

A federal interdepartmental body known as the Alternatives to Removal Working Group began meeting in March 2009 to explore policy options for managing people deemed a threat to national security, documents disclosed under the Access to Information Act show.

[ Read the rest ... ]

Documents outline senior federal officials’ discussions on security certificates, alternative measures

posted on January 28, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Mohammed Adam
Source: The Ottawa Citizen
URL: [link]
Date: January 27, 2011


OTTAWA — Even as the federal government was aggressively pursuing security certificate cases against Mohamed Harkat and others in court, senior officials were quietly reviewing the system and considering alternatives, newly released access to information documents show.

Highlighting the dilemma facing the government on the controversial security certificate system, the documents show that a number of high-level inter-departmental meetings were held in 2009 and last year to consider changes. The working groups, which included assistant deputy ministers, discussed:

• Alternatives to Removal (of people considered a threat, from Canada).

• Diplomatic Assurances (from countries that they will not torture returned detainees.)

• Evaluation of the Security Certificate Initiative and

• Alternatives to Removal Options in the Criminal Law, an attempt to explore criminal code provisions that could be used against those who pose a threat to the country.

Large sections of the documents from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, obtained by York University researcher and PhD student Michael Larsen, are heavily redacted. But it is clear that the meetings were seeking new ways to deal with people held under the security certificates.

[ Read the rest ... ]

Amid security certificate headaches, government quietly studies alternatives

posted on January 28, 2011 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by: Jim Bronskill, CP
Source: The Winnipeg Free Press
URL: [link]
Date: January 27, 2011


OTTAWA - The government is quietly studying alternatives to deporting terrorism suspects under the much-maligned national security certificate as attempts to remove them get bogged down in the courts.

The effort reflects candid federal admissions that it's almost impossible to send non-citizens with alleged terror links to their home countries because they may be tortured or killed.

Currently, three people arrested under security certificates — Mohamed Harkat of Algeria, and Mahmoud Jaballah and Mohamed Zeki Mahjoub, both from Egypt — are out on bail under strict surveillance as their cases slowly grind through the courts.

Harkat was recently served with a deportation order, but his lawyers argue he should not be removed while the security certificate system is still under judicial review.

A federal interdepartmental body known as the Alternatives to Removal Working Group began meeting in March 2009 to explore policy options for managing people deemed a threat to national security, documents disclosed under the Access to Information Act show.

The group, which includes the RCMP, Citizenship and Immigration, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Canada Border Services Agency, Justice, Public Safety and Foreign Affairs, has "produced a detailed body of work" on tools available under the law, says one internal memo.

[ Read the rest ... ]

Legal team fights deportation order

posted on January 25, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

by Sean McKibbon
Source: Metro News
URL: [link]
Date: January 24, 2011


An Ottawa man labelled a threat to Canadian security should be allowed to stay in Canada while his legal challenge works its way through courts, his lawyer says.

“His bail is still active and we’re hopeful we’ll be able to complete the appeal process,” said Matt Webber, defence lawyer for Algerian-born Mohamed Harkat. “But we haven’t reached any formal arrangement with the government yet.”

Harkat’s legal team is challenging the deportation order and the constitutionality of the original security certificate process at the Federal Court of Appeal.

Webber said the process isn’t fair because it uses secret evidence so an accused person can’t make a full answer in defence. The legal team will also challenge the fact that secret informants are not subjected to cross examination either by an accused’s defence team or the newly appointed special advocates who are allowed to see the secret evidence but not talk about it with accused persons.

Harkat, 42, was arrested eight years ago on suspicion of being an al-Qaida sleeper agent, but he denies any involvement in terrorism.

On Friday he was served with deportation papers. In December, a federal court judge ruled he was a security threat who maintained ties to Osama bin Laden's terror network.

Copyright 2001-2011, Free Daily News Group Inc.

Photos from Press Scrum at CBSA Offices, Jan 21, 2011

posted on January 24, 2011 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

Mohamed Harkat and lawyer Matt Webber
Mohamed Harkat (center)and lawyer Matt Webber (right). Photo by Shannon Mannion.

To see more photos taken at this event CLICK HERE. Thank you Shannon.


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