Harkat claims his phone conversations with lawyers were tapped “for years” by CSIS and CBSA. In April this year the Federal Court of Appeal upheld the constitutional validity of security certificates, but it also ruled that some recorded phone conversations that were used as evidence be thrown out because CSIS destroyed the original recordings. Harkat and his wife claim there is actually no original evidence against him. Both parties appealed to the Supreme Court — something which is extremely rare. And, both sides are pleased with the new developments. “Security certificates are necessary to protect Canadians from dangerous foreign nationals, including terrorists,” according to a statement by Public Safety Minister Vic Toews. “It is clear that Canada is not immune from the threat of homegrown or international radical-led terrorism.” The Harkats have confidence in the system. “This means we have the green light to go to the highest court,” said Harkat. “That’s huge news for us. You know — high court, high hope.” Sophie describes the news a dream realized. “It’s unfortunate that we’ve had to go through two certificates and the federal court of appeal, but for me — the ultimate justice comes in the hands of the highest court,” she said. It’s not known when Harkat and lawyer Norm Boxall will appear before the Supreme Court. [email]
Harkat and the courts:
- Dec. 10, 2002 — Harkat is arrested outside his Ottawa apartment on a security certificate issued on the recommendation of CSIS.
- Oct. 25, 2004 — A hearing to determine the validity of the security certificate begins.
- Dec. 10. 2004 — The Federal Court of Appeal upholds a 2003 decision that declared the use of security certificates constitutional.
- March 22, 2005 — Federal Court Justice Eleanor Dawson upholds Harkat’s security certificate.
- Sept. 6, 2005 — Federal Court of Appeal upholds security certificate.
- Jan. 19, 2006 — Top court agrees to hear Harkat’s appeal.
- Feb. 23, 2007 — The Supreme Court rules security certificates unconstitutional, gives the government a year to rewrite the law.
- Oct. 20, 2009 — Federal Court Justice Simon Noel chastises CSIS for “filtering evidence” in failing to tell the court an informant failed a 2002 lie detector test.
- Feb. 1, 2010 — Harkat takes the stand in his own defence.
- June 2, 2010 — Federal Court proceedings wrap up.
- December 2010 — Justice Noel gives Harkat deportation orders to be sent back to Algeria. Harkat appeals the decision, with his lawyers arguing the secret trial process violated his Charter rights.
- Jan. 21, 2010 — Harkat appeals to the Federal Court of Appeal to strike down the security certificate program because it’s unconstitutional.
- April 15, 2012 -- The court of appeal upholds his security certificate for a second time, but disallows key phone record evidence against Harkat, sending him back to a new federal trial. Both parties appealed to the Supreme Court.
- Nov. 22, 2012 -- The Supreme Court announces it will hear Harkat’s appeal.
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