Source: ICLMG News Digest
Date: 14 mai, 2014
Communiqué de presse: L'arrêt Harkat de la Cour suprême maintient un processus injuste pour les non-citoyens
14/05/2014 - La Coalition pour la surveillance internationale des libertés civiles (CSILC) et le Conseil canadien pour les réfugiés (CCR) sont déçus de la décision de la Cour suprême du Canada dans l'affaire Harkat qui maintient un processus fondamentalement injuste s'appuyant sur des preuves secrètes pour décider d'expulser un non-citoyen, potentiellement vers un risque de torture. Dans sa décision, la Cour suprême confirme la constitutionnalité du régime des certificats de sécurité, affirmant que les avocats spéciaux peuvent adéquatement compenser la non-divulgation aux personnes concernées de certaines preuves utilisées contre elles. La CSILC et le CCR regrettent que cette décision affirme l'inégalité de la protection des droits fondamentaux offerte aux non-citoyens. Lorsque ces droits sont en jeu pour les citoyens, comme dans les procédures pénales, nous ne tolérons pas l'utilisation de preuves secrètes. Les non-citoyens méritent une chance égale de connaître les preuves utilisées contre eux, et d'y répondre. La Cour ne s'est pas prononcée sur les aspects discriminatoires de ces dispositions. La Cour a également omis de se référer au droit international relatif aux droits humains, qui devrait servir de cadre essentiel pour le droit canadien.
by Tonda MacCharles
Source: The Toronto Star
Date: May 14, 2014
OTTAWA—The Supreme Court of Canada unanimously upheld revised security certificates laws Wednesday along with the use of secret evidence to deport foreign-born terrorism suspects as constitutional.
In doing so, the 8-0 decision also concluded a security certificate — a kind of special immigration warrant — issued against Algerian-born Mohamed Harkat is reasonable.
It is a major nod to the Conservative government’s 2008 redesign of the security certificates that brought in the use of security-cleared special advocates who have access to secret state evidence although they are not allowed to disclose that evidence to the defence.
However, it may not be the end of a long battle for Harkat, pegged by Canada’s security agencies as a suspected Al Qaeda sleeper agent.
For years, Ottawa has sought to deport Harkat insisting he is a threat.
But Harkat’s lawyers say Canada cannot deport anyone to face a risk of torture as they argue he would be in Algeria, and are expected to fight further efforts to remove him.
The documentary The Secret Trial Five, long in the making, has now been released. It screened recently at the Toronto HotDocs Documentary Film Festival and was well received there. HotDocs audiences voted it 8th best out of a total 200 films that were shown during the 11-day festival.
Watch the trailer:
OPINION: Right to a Fair Trial is not just for Canadian Citizens
by Hayley Pitcher
Source: Pro Bono Students Canada / CCLA Rights Watch Blog
Date: October 10, 2013
The opinions expressed here are those of the author's. They do not necessarily represent CCLA or PBSC policy. Please visit CCLA’s website, www.ccla.org, for official CCLA publications and policies.
Today, the SCC hears an important case regarding the constitutional rights of immigrants in Canada. Mohamed Harkat will challenge the constitutionality of security certificates. Harkat is an Algerian who came to Canada in 1997. He has been subject to a security certificate since 2002. He was detained until 2006 and has since been under strict bail conditions. While his conditions have relaxed over time, they have included: a GPS monitoring device, curfew, surveillance cameras at the front of his house, interception of mail and phone calls, and no internet access.
Security certificates allow the Canadian government, on the basis of secret evidence, to deport non-citizens who are deemed a security threat to Canada. The regime also allows for detention – with no statutory limitations on the length – so long as the detention is reasonable. Because it is not a criminal proceeding, the standard of proof is much lower than beyond a reasonable doubt. The standard applied is whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that the named person is a security threat.
by Joe Lofaro
Source: Metro News Ottawa
Date: October 10, 2013
An Algerian-born Ottawa man accused of being an Al Qaeda “sleeper cell” agent was at the Supreme Court of Canada Thursday as federal lawyers argued for the court to uphold laws that would deport terrorist suspects.
Mohamed Harkat, a former gas station attendant and pizza deliveryman, was arrested in 2002 under a security certificate. The tool gives Canada permission to deport foreigners without charging them on the basis of national security.
He was placed on house arrest after spending 43 months in prison. It was only this past July the Ottawa man was permitted to remove his GPS tracking bracelet from his ankle.
On Thursday he was appealing for the second time the constitutionality of the security certificate provisions in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
“I hope for the best and I’m still optimistic what’s going on so far,” said Harkat in the court foyer during a break in the hearing.
In his argument to Canada’s highest court, federal lawyer Robert Frater called for government informants to be kept under a veil of secrecy, otherwise “the informants will close up like a clam.” Federal lawyer Urszula Kaczmarczyk also argued for those named in a security certificate to only receive a summary of the case against them, without divulging sensitive intelligence information.
But what defence counsel is left with is a summary of “bald” allegations, argued Harkat’s lawyer, Norm Boxall.
“You must have information and other evidence and it’s not just being told the allegation,” said Boxall. “For example, there’s an allegation that he went to Afghanistan. When? Where? How? Why?”
Matthew Webber, Harkat’s other lawyer, also asked for an exclusion of the original Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) wiretaps used in building a case against Harkat, which were destroyed in 2009. The destruction of that evidence is “prejudicial” to his client, said Webber.
Outside the courtroom the foyer was bustling with supporters who came to observe the rare proceeding. Harkat also had the support of his wife, Sophie, during the hearing.
“I’m hoping one day I’m going to clear my name,” Harkat told reporters. “I’m telling the Canadian people and the world I’m not part of bin Laden, what they’re saying. It will prove itself.”
The hearing will continue Friday behind closed doors.
Copyright 2001-2013, Free Daily News Group Inc.
PHOTOS: Searching for Justice. Searching for the Justices
Here are some more photos courtesy of Murray Lumley. These were taken on, October 11th, the morning of the secret portion of the Supreme Court proceedings. Social justice activist Matthew Behrens led a group of "crime scene investigators" through downtown Ottawa searching for the secret location of the secret Supreme Court hearings.
by Jim Bronskill (CP)
Source: The Ottawa Citizen
Date: June 2, 2013
OTTAWA - On his way to becoming Canada's top cop, Bob Paulson told internal reviewers the national security certificate process for detaining suspected terrorists was "completely off the rails," newly released documents show.
In an interview with an auditor examining the controversial program, Paulson, now RCMP commissioner, expressed concerns about excessive state secrecy in certificate proceedings.
The national security certificate is a seldom-used tool for removing non-citizens suspected of terrorism or espionage from Canada.
"In my view, we over claim the protection of sources and methods and this is convenient if you can get away with it," say notes from the October 2009 interview, recently released under the Access to Information Act.
Paulson was assistant RCMP commissioner for national security at the time of the interview. Two years later, he was picked by the Harper government to become commissioner.
Click on the photo of Mohamed to see all items related to him. JUNE 2017: Mohamed Harkat once again faces deportation to his native Algeria after the Supreme Court of Canada declared the federal government’s security certificate regime constitutional.
This fight is not over. The Justice for Mohamed Harkat Committee will re-double its efforts to see that justice is done for Mohamed Harkat and that the odious security certificate system of injustice is abolished once and for all.