Terrorism suspect Harkat ordered deportedposted on July 20, 2006 | in Category Canada's Immigration Policy | PermaLink
Date: July 18, 2006
An Ottawa man who spent years in a Canadian prison on terrorism allegations has been ordered deported to his native Algeria — but it's unlikely he'll be forced to leave anytime soon.
Mohamed Harkat — who was detained without charge beginning in 2002 under one of the controversial federal security certificates — was told on July 14 that the Canadian Border Services Agency had decided to send him back, despite his fears that he will be tortured and killed.
The deportation decision was confirmed late Monday by Harkat's lawyer, Paul Copeland.
Both Harkat and his lawyer have argued that he would be in grave danger if he returned to Algeria because the Canadian Security Intelligence Service accused him of being an al-Qaeda "sleeper agent" and alleged that Harkat trained under Osama bin Laden's top lieutenants in Afghanistan. Harkat has denied the allegations.The agency's decision came a day after a Federal Court panel dismissed government attempts to send Harkat back to jail, several weeks after he was released on bail. On July 13, the court ruled that Harkat — who was first detained in December 2002 — could continue to live in his home under tight security restrictions while the government decided whether to deport him. That ruling followed a June decision by Federal Court Judge Eleanor Dawson to grant him bail. In her decision, Dawson cited the government's slow progress on Harkat's deportation to Algeria. Lawyer to ask for judicial review
Copeland vowed on Monday to seek leave for a judicial review of the Canadian Border Service Agency's decision. As well, the Supreme Court of Canada is still involved with the Harkat case and no deportation will take place until the high court rules on whether the security certificate process is constitutional. The security certificate legislation gives the government the power to detain terrorist suspects indefinitely while the Federal Court decides whether an individual should be deported as a threat to national security. The alleged evidence does not have to be made public — or even unveiled to the prisoners and their lawyers. Harkat was one of three foreign-born men whose cases were before the Supreme Court earlier in the year as it considered whether the security certificate process meets the standard of fundamental justice. If the high court decides that the process does not meet the standard, Harkat's deportation will likely be set aside. If, however, the Court upholds the constitutionality of security certificates, Harkat will have few legal avenues left open to him to avoid being sent back to Algeria. Harkat arrived in Toronto in 1995 from Malaysia using a fake Saudi passport. He applied for refugee status claiming a fear of persecution by the Algerian government. He moved to Ottawa, married and worked most recently delivering pizzas and pumping gas. His refugee status was granted in February 1997 and he applied for permanent residence the next month. With files by the Canadian Press Copyright © CBC 2006