Harkat supporters hold rally

posted on October 22, 2004 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink

Original author: Sarah Gilmour
Source: The Ottawa Sun online
URL: [link]
Date: October 22, 2004

Five blindfolded men chained together in front of the words "dignity" and "rights" on the Human Rights Monument served as the backdrop for a rally in support of Mohamed Harkat last night. In what's expected to be their last rally before Harkat's security certificate hearing, members of the Justice for Mohamed Harkat Committee were also demonstrating against the certificates, which allow evidence to remain secret.Accused of having ties to al-Qaida, the mujahedeen and the GIA -- a radical anti-western Sunni Muslim group based in Algeria -- Harkat was arrested on Dec. 10, 2002.

Police were acting on a rarely used section of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that deals with security certificates -- the first step in the deportation process.


Since then, neither Harkat nor his lawyers have seen all the evidence against the Algerian refugee.

With his certificate hearing expected to begin on Monday, one of his lawyers, Yavar Hameed, said the case will test whether Canada is serious about the international treaties on human rights it has signed, such as the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

Harkat's wife, Sophie, has been advocating for her husband's freedom since his detention, by heading the committee in his name and by holding bimonthly meetings and almost monthly rallies to draw support and awareness to her husband's cause.

"He is my hero," she said with tears in her eyes last night.

"He is my biggest source of motivation and inspiration. He is the reason why I do this every day."

Sophie said she hopes for fairness in her husband's hearing but fears that the judge will be reluctant to make a judgment in favour of refugee rights.

"I don't think anybody wants to be the first one to stick their neck out and make this kind of decision," she said.

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