The Liberals and the Charter: don’t deport Harkat to tortureposted on October 27, 2015 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink
On election night Liberal Adam Vaughn, who unseated Olivia Chow, declared the Liberals to be “the Party of the Charter.” The Liberals must be held to that: Security Certificates must be declared unconstitutional, counter to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and abolished. Secure Freedom
A 2006 film made by Justin Trudeau’s own brother, documentary filmmaker and journalist Alexandre (”Sasha”) Trudeau, makes this very case. Secure Freedom, which aired on CTV on September 10, 2006, chronicles Alexandre Trudeau’s efforts to support Syrian refugee Hassan Almrei, one of the five men who have had Security Certificates issued against them. In fact, Trudeau offered to be a surety for Almrei, and his appearance in court generated front page coverage and major media attention to the Security Certificate issue for the first time. The film can still be purchased at www.jujufilms.ca/secure_freedom The site contains a trailer and a riveting description: “Trudeau is transformed from journalist to activist, testifying on Hassan’s behalf: ‘it’s not my business to know whether he’s guilty. He hasn’t been charged so I assume he’s innocent.’” Soon, the legal drama reaches the front page, with the UN coming out strong against Security Certificates: ‘if human rights aren’t respected in Canada, then where?’ But the government insists it has assurances the men won’t be tortured if deported. Half a world away in Syria, Trudeau investigates these claims, meeting the lawyer who fought to free Maher Arar, the Canadian ‘rendered’ to torture in Syria by the CIA: ‘there are no assurances here. Only torture.’” Justin should give his brother’s film another watch today. Ultimately, Security Certificates must be abolished. But right now, it is critical that they not be used to send a man to torture in Algeria. As with Syria, there are no diplomatic assurances that can be relied upon in Algeria, and Canada must respect its United Nations commitment not to deport to torture – whether that means quashing the Security Certificate against Harkat entirely or at the very least quashing the deportation papers. In the words of Sophie Harkat, Mohamed’s partner in life and in the fight for justice, government always has a choice. The Liberals have a chance to do the right thing, but they need to hear that this is what the public wants. What you can do:
The Justice for Mohamed Harkat campaign is relaunching its efforts in an attempt to stop the deportation. They are requesting both support and donations to help with legal costs: donate here and sign the petition here. The award-winning documentary The Secret Trial Five is available for screening, and members of the campaign can be invited to speak to your group, union local, or classroom. And contact your MP, no matter which party, to remind them that deportation to torture is unacceptable. This work is provided under the terms of the Creative Commons license.