Judge eases restrictions on Harkat

posted on September 23, 2009 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by Colin Freeze
Source: The Globe and Mail
URL: [link]
Date: September 22, 2009

A Federal Court judge has greatly eased restrictions on a man kept under scrutiny as an al-Qaeda suspect since 2002, as another one of the government's vaunted security-certificate cases has slid from the stated goal of deportation into one of perpetual low-level surveillance within Canada.

Mohamed Harkat, a 41-year-old Algerian immigrant living in Ottawa, has had his extremely onerous house-arrest conditions lifted. For the first time in seven years, he will not be kept under federal agents' constant eyes-on surveillance.

Judge Simon Noel ruled that Mr. Harkat's years in custody - half of it in prison, the other half under house arrest - have reduced the threat he once posed to Canadian national security. His decision, the judge said, followed a new federal risk assessment of the man.

Supporters of Mr. Harkat applauded in the courtroom, as he and his wife shed tears, when the new liberties were announced yesterday. "I came to this country to work," Mr. Harkat said. "I have no idea why they arrested me."

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