Court quashes security certificate against Almrei

posted on December 14, 2009 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

By Janice Tibbetts
Source: Canwest News Service
URL: [link]
Date: December 14, 2009

[PHOTO: Hassan Almrei was arrested in 2001 after the Canadian Security Intelligence Service alleged he was part of a Sunni extremist network.]

OTTAWA — The Federal Court has dealt another blow to the federal government's effort to deport foreign terrorist suspects in a ruling that quashed a security certificate against Hassan Almrei.

"I am satisfied that Hassan Almrei has not engaged in terrorism and is not and was not a member of an organization that there are reasonable grounds to believe has, does, or will engage in terrorism," Justice Richard Mosley wrote in a ruling released Monday.

Security certificates, which empower the government to detain non-Canadian suspects without charge or without knowing the case against them are one of the key federal tools in fighting terrorism.

On the approval of two cabinet ministers, the government can issue the certificates, which permit the incarceration of a suspect in "administrative detention" until a Federal Court judge determines whether he or she should be returned to his or her home country.

Almrei, a Syrian, came to Canada in 1999 as a refugee claimant. He was arrested in Toronto in 2001 after the Canadian Security Intelligence Service alleged he was part of a Sunni extremist network.He was detained until last January, when the Federal Court ordered his release from the Kingston Immigration Holding Centre.

Lawyers for Almrei had sought to have his case thrown out in light of revelations earlier this year that CSIS had admitted that one of its informants was deceptive and another source never took a lie-detector test, despite earlier claims from the spy agency that he had passed.

Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan recently told Canwest News Service that he fears for the government's ability to fight terrorism in light of "an increasingly complex legal environment" in which judges are no longer deferring to the government in its efforts to deport foreign suspects.

Earlier this fall, a judge quashed a certificate against Adil Charkaoui of Montreal, after federal lawyers withdrew much of the evidence against him.

There are three other Muslim men who are subject to security certificates.

The program has been losing steam amid revelations of Canadian Security Intelligence Service mistakes, court orders for the government to disclose more information and government admissions that it poses too much of a threat to state secrets to continue the pursuit.

© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service