by Hayley Pitcher
Source: Pro Bono Students Canada / CCLA Rights Watch Blog
Date: October 10, 2013
The opinions expressed here are those of the author's. They do not necessarily represent CCLA or PBSC policy. Please visit CCLA’s website, www.ccla.org, for official CCLA publications and policies.
Today, the SCC hears an important case regarding the constitutional rights of immigrants in Canada. Mohamed Harkat will challenge the constitutionality of security certificates. Harkat is an Algerian who came to Canada in 1997. He has been subject to a security certificate since 2002. He was detained until 2006 and has since been under strict bail conditions. While his conditions have relaxed over time, they have included: a GPS monitoring device, curfew, surveillance cameras at the front of his house, interception of mail and phone calls, and no internet access.
Security certificates allow the Canadian government, on the basis of secret evidence, to deport non-citizens who are deemed a security threat to Canada. The regime also allows for detention – with no statutory limitations on the length – so long as the detention is reasonable. Because it is not a criminal proceeding, the standard of proof is much lower than beyond a reasonable doubt. The standard applied is whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that the named person is a security threat.
by Joe Lofaro
Source: Metro News Ottawa
Date: October 10, 2013
Mohamed Harkat speaks to reporters in the foyer of the Supreme Court of Canada on Oct. 10, 2013. Photo by Joe Lofaro.
An Algerian-born Ottawa man accused of being an Al Qaeda “sleeper cell” agent was at the Supreme Court of Canada Thursday as federal lawyers argued for the court to uphold laws that would deport terrorist suspects.
Mohamed Harkat, a former gas station attendant and pizza deliveryman, was arrested in 2002 under a security certificate. The tool gives Canada permission to deport foreigners without charging them on the basis of national security.
He was placed on house arrest after spending 43 months in prison. It was only this past July the Ottawa man was permitted to remove his GPS tracking bracelet from his ankle.
On Thursday he was appealing for the second time the constitutionality of the security certificate provisions in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
“I hope for the best and I’m still optimistic what’s going on so far,” said Harkat in the court foyer during a break in the hearing.
In his argument to Canada’s highest court, federal lawyer Robert Frater called for government informants to be kept under a veil of secrecy, otherwise “the informants will close up like a clam.” Federal lawyer Urszula Kaczmarczyk also argued for those named in a security certificate to only receive a summary of the case against them, without divulging sensitive intelligence information.
But what defence counsel is left with is a summary of “bald” allegations, argued Harkat’s lawyer, Norm Boxall.
“You must have information and other evidence and it’s not just being told the allegation,” said Boxall. “For example, there’s an allegation that he went to Afghanistan. When? Where? How? Why?”
Matthew Webber, Harkat’s other lawyer, also asked for an exclusion of the original Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) wiretaps used in building a case against Harkat, which were destroyed in 2009. The destruction of that evidence is “prejudicial” to his client, said Webber.
Outside the courtroom the foyer was bustling with supporters who came to observe the rare proceeding. Harkat also had the support of his wife, Sophie, during the hearing.
“I’m hoping one day I’m going to clear my name,” Harkat told reporters. “I’m telling the Canadian people and the world I’m not part of bin Laden, what they’re saying. It will prove itself.”
The hearing will continue Friday behind closed doors.
Copyright 2001-2013, Free Daily News Group Inc.
Supreme Court urged to accept revamped national security certificate rules
par Marc Godbout
Date 10 octobre 2013
>>> REPORTAGE VIDEO IÇI <<<
La Cour suprême du Canada entend, jeudi et vendredi, la cause de Mohamed Harkat, cet Ottavien d'origine algérienne soupçonné d'activités terroristes par le gouvernement canadien.
Mohamed Harkat conteste la constitutionnalité du certificat de sécurité délivré contre lui et qui a permis aux autorités canadiennes de l'arrêter.
L'audition de la cause sera entourée de secret. Pour la première fois dans l'histoire du plus haut tribunal du pays, la journée d'audience de vendredi aura lieu à l'extérieur de l'édifice de la Cour suprême. Les juges seront retranchés dans un endroit tenu secret pour des raisons de sécurité nationale.
Une dizaine d'intervenants doivent défiler devant le tribunal, dont la directrice générale du Conseil canadien pour les réfugiés, Janet Dench.
« C'est une ironie, parce qu'on est en train de contester l'utilisation des preuves secrètes pour décider du sort d'un non-citoyen et là, on va également utiliser des audiences secrètes », souligne Mme Dench.
Mohamed Harkat réclame l'abolition du certificat de sécurité parce qu'il repose sur des documents secrets qui ont été détruits. Des groupes qui l'appuient estiment que cette procédure va à l'encontre des droits fondamentaux de Mohamed Harkat.
Au cours de l'audition, les avocats spéciaux nommés par le gouvernement et chargés de défendre les intérêts de Harkat viendront dire au tribunal qu'ils ne peuvent pas faire leur travail.
De son côté, le gouvernement fédéral demandera au plus haut tribunal du pays de maintenir le certificat de sécurité. Il estime toujours que Mohamed Harkat représente une menace à la sécurité du pays.
Jeudi matin, une cinquantaine de personnes arborant des affiches se sont rassemblées devant l'édifice de la Cour suprême en appui à Mohamed Harkat pour dénoncer les certificats de sécurité.
Rappel des faits
by Ian McLeod
Source: The Ottawa Citizen
Date: October 10, 2013
OTTAWA — Mohamed Harkat looks anxious, like a man with a trap door beneath his feet.
He’s seated in the living room of his modest brown-brick rowhouse on Ottawa’s southeast side. Sophie Lamarche Harkat, his wife and foremost defender, is at his side. The place is neat and tidy. The rest of their life is a mess.
Canada’s national security apparatus has had a stranglehold on Harkat since Dec. 10, 2002, when the gas station cashier was arrested here as an alleged al-Qaida “sleeper” agent.
It was international Human Rights Day. The recently married Algerian refugee claimant was hauled off to prison for 42 months under a secretive security certificate that allows federal immigration authorities to deport non-citizens deemed a threat to national security.
Then came seven years of virtual house arrest. All with no criminal charge and no trial.
After more than a decade Harkat, now 45, and his lawyers are still fighting deportation on grounds that call into question the state of fundamental justice in Canada.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court sits in open session to consider aspects of the case and whether national security secrecy trumps judicial transparency, accountability and the right to a full defence.
Both the government and Harkat are appealing a 2012 Federal Court of Appeal decision, which ruled that Harkat deserves a new Federal Court hearing to determine if he’s a threat to national security; that his right to a fair hearing was compromised by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, which destroyed recordings of taped conversations from the mid-1990s; and that CSIS informants are not entitled to the blanket legal protection given to police informants to shield their identities.
On Friday, the high court is to reconvene in an extraordinary session at an ultrasecret, secure location to hear classified arguments. Harkat and his lawyers are barred from attending.
And therein lies the central issue — secrecy.
Here are some more photos courtesy of Murray Lumley. These were taken on, October 11th, the morning of the secret portion of the Supreme Court proceedings. Social justice activist Matthew Behrens led a group of "crime scene investigators" through downtown Ottawa searching for the secret location of the secret Supreme Court hearings.
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: