Supreme Court won't hear challenge of secrecy provisions

posted on April 07, 2008 | in Category Canada | PermaLink

Source: The Canadian Press
Date: April 3 2008

OTTAWA -- The Supreme Court of Canada has turned down an effort by accused terrorist Momin Khawaja to challenge federal secrecy law.

In a ruling released without comment, the court refused to hear Khawaja's claim that the legislation violates his right to fundamental justice and a fair trial.

At issue is a portion of the Canada Evidence Act, under which the government can refuse to disclose sensitive intelligence to an accused person on national security grounds.

The law provides for review of the disputed material by a judge, but only at a close-door hearing the defendant can't attend.

Khawaja was the first person charged under the federal Anti-Terrorist Act passed in the wake of the 9-11 attacks. He has spent four years in jail but has yet to face trial because of preliminary wrangling over various points of law.

The Crown says he was part of an al-Qaida-inspired cell that plotted bombings in Britain in 2004. Six other men were convicted last year in London, but the charges against Khawaja were laid in Canada rather than the U.K.

Expert says Canada could break international law if it deports terror suspect

posted on March 29, 2008 | in Category Canada | PermaLink

Source: The Canadian Press
URL: [link]
Date: March 27, 2008

MONTREAL — A French legal expert is warning Canada it will break international law if evidence obtained through torture is used to deport a suspected Basque terrorist.

Didier Rouget, a lawyer who has represented several torture victims, suggested Thursday that Canada is walking a dangerous line if it returns Ivan Apaolaza Sancho to Spain.

Sancho was arrested on a Quebec City ferry last summer and is wanted by Spain for a series of car bombings tied to the violent Basque separatist group ETA.

Sancho's legal team says his arrest warrant in Spain contains declarations from a woman who alleges she was tortured into making the statements.

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Common Security Agenda threatens Canada’s Human Rights

posted on March 29, 2008 | in Category Canada | PermaLink

by Press Rlease Source: Canadian Arab Federation Website URL: [link] (link to PDF file) Date: March 27, 2008 NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 27, 2008 Common Security Agenda threatens Canada’s Human Rights

Toronto – the Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) decries the Conservative government’s negotiation and signing of a public safety treaty with Israel , a country which is continually cited by human rights agencies to be a repeat violator of international law and one which does not even share a common border with Canada . This discomforting development serves to further undermine the civil liberties of all Canadians. “Sharing security information with a country that is accused of practicing apartheid in the occupied territories and torture against prisoners sends a dangerous signal to Canadians, particularly human rights and peace activists and those of Arab descent, that their legitimate concerns about Canada’s relationship with Israel will be disregarded and ignored”, said Khaled Mouammar, CAF National President.

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Ottawa relied on torture evidence, terror suspect says

posted on March 26, 2008 | in Category Canada | PermaLink

Source: The Canadian Press
Date: March 24, 2008

Canadian immigration officials partially relied on evidence gathered under torture in their attempt to deport a suspected Basque terrorist, the suspect claims.

Ivan Apaolaza Sancho said Ottawa's case against him includes information gleaned from an interrogation where Spanish police allegedly roughed up a female suspect in 2001. Sancho claims Ottawa has not been up front about this fact.

"She made some declarations to the police … after this woman said she was tortured," Sancho told the Canadian Press in a telephone interview from a Montreal detention centre. "But the Canadian government didn't show it like that."

Sancho was arrested by the RCMP in June 2007 on an immigration warrant. The Canadian government is seeking to deport him to Spain, where he is thought to be linked to the violent Basque separatist group ETA.

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The U.S. treatment of Khadr is a blight on Canada's reputation

posted on February 09, 2008 | in Category Canada | PermaLink

By Janet Bagnall Source: The Montreal Gazette URL: N/A Date: February 8, 2008 Our government has not raised a finger to help imprisoned Canadian

On July 27, 2002 , an Al-Qa'ida compound in Afghanistan was bombarded by U.S. warplanes for four hours. The bombing over, U.S. soldiers stormed the compound. Inside, according to a document released accidentally by U.S. officials Monday, a soldier found two people still alive. There was a man who had an AK-47 beside him, "moving and moaning." The soldier shot this person in the head, killing him. The soldier, identified as only OC-1, said he saw a second person "sitting up facing away from him leaning against the brush." The soldier shot this person two times in the back. The second person was 15-year-old Omar Khadr, the Canadian who has now been held in U.S. custody in Guantanamo Bay for almost six years and who has become, on the evidence, an obsession with the Pentagon. The U.S. military has accused Khadr of throwing a grenade that killed U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer during the battle on July 27. No one saw him throw the grenade, but because he was, until this week, thought to have been the only person still alive in the compound, it was assumed that he alone could have thrown it.

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Laws hinder RCMP and CSIS, says Zaccardelli

posted on November 30, 2007 | in Category Canada | PermaLink

Source: CBC News
URL: [link]
Date: November 30, 2007

Former RCMP commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli says laws governing the Mounties and Canada's spy agency are putting the security of Canadians at risk.

Zaccardelli says the law is forcing the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to work under a structure that limits the transfer of information from one organization to the other.

But he says in a day and age where terrorism is on Canada's doorstep, changes are needed in Canadian law to allow critical information to flow more quickly.

"We should have policy that says let us look at information together and make intelligent judgment together," he said during testimony Friday in Ottawa at the inquiry into the 1985 Air India disaster.

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A better security law

posted on October 24, 2007 | in Category Canada | PermaLink

Source: The Toronto Star URL: N/A Date: October 24, 2007 EDITORIAL A better security law

Oct 24, 2007 04:30 AM Prodded by the Supreme Court, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government has grudgingly agreed to raise the bar on the controversial "security certificate" regime that lets Ottawa arrest, jail and deport non-citizens who pose a threat to this country. In future, people like Mohamed Harkat, Adil Charkaoui and Hassan Almrei who successfully challenged the law will have a much-needed friend in court. Under the secretive process, the ministers of Public Safety and Citizenship and Immigration can issue a certificate against non-citizens who pose a threat. A Federal Court judge must weigh the evidence, give detainees a "summary" of the government's case stripped of sensitive intelligence, hear testimony from both sides, and then uphold or quash the certificates. If upheld, they serve as deportation orders.

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Towards The Legalization of Torture in Canada?

posted on September 14, 2007 | in Category Canada | PermaLink

Original author: François Tremblay
Source: The World Socialist Web Site
URL: [link]
Date: September 8, 2007

The Canadian government’s conduct in several affairs suggests that it is systematically abetting, and making use of information gained through, torture. Ottawa continues to deny this publicly, but in judicial proceedings its lawyers have brazenly defended the use of “intelligence” induced by torture.

The best-known and most flagrant case is that of Maher Arar. US authorities, acting on false information sent to the FBI and CIA by the Canadian national security establishment, seized Arar, a Canadian citizen of Syrian origin, in 2002 as he changed airplanes in New York. Washington subsequently illegally deported Arar, via Jordan, to Syria, where he was imprisoned in a dungeon and tortured. The Canadian government left Arar in the hands of his Syrian torturers for nearly a year, going so far as to exchange information with, and send questions to be put to Arar by, the Syrian secret police.

The case of Adil Charkaoui is another example of Canadian state complicity in torture. Charkaoui is the object of a national security certificate, a ministerial decree which permits, without trial or the need to furnish any evidence, the indefinite imprisonment of a non-citizen (visitor, refugee, or longstanding immigrant) suspected of being a threat to “national security” . Officials have claimed that a reliable source informed them that Charkaoui had trained in an al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan, but long refused to divulge the source’s identity. The source was finally revealed to be Ahmed Ressam, who was arrested at the Canada-US border in 1999 with 58 kg of explosives in his car, allegedly while en route to set them off at Los Angeles International Airport. Last April, Ressam declared that his “confession” incriminating Charkaoui was false and had been made under extreme duress and with the aim of obtaining clemency from his US jailors.

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U.S. no-fly list trumps Ottawa's roster

posted on May 24, 2007 | in Category Canada | PermaLink

Original author: Canadian Press (CP) Source: The Montreal Gazette URL: [link] (subscribers only) Date: May 23, 2007 Canadians won't be advised if they're barred from flying

Canadian airlines will continue using the United States no-fly list even after the federal government unfurls its own roster of barred passengers next month. A spokesperson for the group representing Canadian airlines said carriers will "continue to use a wide variety of sources" to decide who is allowed to board flights. The Canadian no-fly list, which comes into effect June 18, will complement existing security tools, said Fred Gaspar, vice-president of policy and planning with the Air Transport Association of Canada. "So this doesn't replace an airline's ability to make their own kind of security assessments about the ongoing nature of their operations." Gaspar and a spokesperson for Air Canada refused to discuss specific methods, but air carriers have been known to check names against the U.S. no-fly list even for flights between Canadian cities. It means a traveller flying from Calgary to Toronto could still be delayed at the airport or prevented from boarding a plane even though their name does not appear on the Canadian no-fly list.

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NYT: Canada's move to restore right

posted on February 27, 2007 | in Category Canada | PermaLink

Original author: unsigned editorial
Source: The New York Times
URL: [link]
Date: February 27, 2007

The United States was not the only country to respond to the horror of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks with policies that went much too far in curtailing basic rights and civil liberties in the name of public safety. Now we see that a nation can regain its senses after calm reflection and begin to rein back such excesses, but that heartening news comes from Canada and not the United States.

Canada's Supreme Court has struck down a law that the government used to detain foreign-born terrorism suspects indefinitely - employing secret evidence and not filing charges while orders to deport them were reviewed. The law was actually passed in 1978, but was primarily employed to detain and deport foreign spies. After the 2001 attacks, the Canadian government began using it aggressively to hold terrorism suspects, claiming that it was an important tool for keeping Canada safe.

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