Security Certificates

Supreme Court to hear appeals from both sides in Harkat terrorism case

posted on November 22, 2012 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by The Canadian Press Source: CTV News URL: [link] Date: November 22, 2012 SCOC to hear appeals from both sides in Harkat terrorism case

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada will hear appeals from both parties in the terrorism case of Algerian refugee Mohamed Harkat. Harkat, 44, was arrested almost 10 years ago in Ottawa on suspicion of being an al-Qaida sleeper agent, but he denies any involvement in terrorist activities. The federal government wants to deport Harkat under a national security certificate, a rarely used tool for removing non-citizens suspected of being terrorists or spies. In April, the Federal Court of Appeal upheld the constitutionality of the security certificate system, but ruled that summaries of some mid-1990s conversations be excluded from evidence against Harkat because the Canadian Security Intelligence Service destroyed the original recordings. The ruling left both sides unhappy and each asked for a hearing in the Supreme Court -- an uncommon turn of events. As usual, the high court gave no reasons for its decision to hear the appeals. 2012 Bell Media All rights reserved.

Ottawa expected UN pressure on anti-torture policy

posted on November 14, 2012 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

Source: The Canadian Press via CBC News URL: [link] Date: November 13, 2012 Newly released memos show Canada fully expected the intense grilling it got from a United Nations committee earlier this year about its international obligations to shun torture and other cruel treatment. Officials quietly advised Justice Minister Rob Nicholson the committee would "likely press Canada" on issues ranging from prison overcrowding to redress for people subjected to torture abroad. The federal government was also prepared to defend its refusal to arrest former U.S. leaders George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for alleged war crimes. In late May, a Canadian delegation presented Canada's latest report on compliance with the UN Convention Against Torture. Advisers also provided the minister with copies of the numerous talking points intended to help the delegation defend Canada's interests. The committee later issued a report criticizing several aspects of Canada's legal regime, including planned measures affecting refugee claimants and the continuing use of national security certificates to deport non-citizens. © The Canadian Press, 2012

CBC: Security certificates process has evolved, ex-CSIS official says

posted on September 07, 2012 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

Source: CBC News URL: [link] Date: September 7, 2012 The secretive, highly contentious security certificate process strikes a balance between upholding fundamental human rights and protecting society from security threats, says a former top official with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. In an exclusive interview with host Evan Solomon on CBC News Network's Power and Politics, Ray Boisvert, former assistant director of intelligence for CSIS, said intense scrutiny and various legal challenges have fine-tuned the rarely used process. First established in 1978, security certificates have been used in fewer than 30 cases since 1991, according to Boisvert, who is now president of I-Sec Integrated Strategies. The threat environment has "transformed tremendously" and requires a delicate balance between enabling the state to protect its citizens as a fundamental obligation – and upholding individual freedoms protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, he added. Boisvert said intelligence gathered by spy agencies is not meant to be used in court like evidence gathered by law enforcement agencies, and is usually obtained and shared through a network of international partners.

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Terror suspect wins partial court victory

posted on April 26, 2012 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by Mike Blanchfield (CP)
Source: Metro News Ottawa
URL: [link]
Date: April 25, 2012

[PHOTO: Mohamed Harkat takes part in a press conference in Ottawa on Wednesday, April 25, 2012. Harkat, a suspected terrorist that the federal government wants to deport, has won a partial victory before the Federal Court of Appeal. ]

OTTAWA – A man the federal government wants to deport over alleged ties to al-Qaida has won a partial victory at the Federal Court of Appeal.

In a complex ruling Wednesday, the court upheld the constitutionality of Canada’s security certificate process in the case of Mohamed Harkat. But it also found that some evidence against him must be excluded from a new court hearing.

The former Ottawa pizza-delivery man faces removal from Canada under a certificate that declares him a security threat because of alleged terrorist links. He denies any terror connection.

Harkat and his lawyers greeted the ruling as good news because it gives him another chance to clear his name at a new Federal Court hearing at a later date.

He lives under house arrest with his wife, Sophie, under a strict set of conditions that includes wearing an electronic tracking bracelet on his ankle, weekly reporting to authorities and a ban on leaving town without permission.

The court ruled that the use of so-called special advocates — lawyers appointed as watchdogs for the accused during closed-door hearings — is constitutional.

But it also said that because the originals of certain conversations were destroyed by Canada’s spy agency, any remnants of that material must be excluded from a re-hearing of Harkat’s bid to quash the security certificate against him.

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Canada quietly shutters 'Gitmo North' detention facility for terror suspects

posted on April 23, 2012 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by Tobi Cohen
Source: The Ottawa Citizen
URL: [link]
Date: April 17, 2012

OTTAWA — The Kingston Immigration Holding Centre in Ontario, better known as Gitmo North, was quietly closed at the end of last year, saving the Canada Border Services Agency millions of dollars and bringing a sense of relief to the handful of men who were incarcerated there, Postmedia News has learned.

The costly facility, which opened in 2006 in the aftermath of 9/11 to detain just four terror suspects subject to controversial security certificates, often has been likened to the U.S.-run Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba, where prisoners of the Iraq and Afghan wars were sent.

The Cuban facility is where Canadian war criminal and former child soldier Omar Khadr remains incarcerated and there's been speculation he could be held at Gitmo North should his request for transfer to Canada go through.

It's a prospect, however, that now seems unlikely.

"Following a review of the KIHC by the (Canada Border Services Agency) in 2009, it was decided that the facility should be permanently closed in order to allow the agency to better align its resources. Accordingly, KIHC was closed on December 31, 2011," CBSA spokeswoman Esme Bailey confirmed in an email.

"The CBSA has achieved approximately $2.5 million in annual savings by closing the KIHC."

Julie Carmichael, a spokeswoman for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, added there are "no plans for the future" of the facility which is located on the grounds of Millhaven Institution, a maximum-security prison.

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Les certificats de sécurité : porteurs de graves violations des droits humains

posted on February 28, 2012 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

Source: News Release Date: 16 fevrier 2012 Les certificats de sécurité : porteurs de graves violations des droits humains

Déclaration de la Ligue des droits et libertés 16 février 2012 La Ligue des droits et libertés s’oppose de longue date aux certificats de sécurité. Elle s’est également opposée au projet de loi C-3 qui visait à réformer les certificats de sécurité, dont la mécanique avait été déclarée inconstitutionnelle par la Cour suprême du Canada le 23 février 2007, dans le jugement Charkaoui. La Ligue estime en effet que les modifications proposées, dont l’introduction d’un avocat spécial, n’avaient aucunement pour effet de régler les problèmes fondamentaux posés par le régime de certificat de sécurité, problèmes que nous trouvons important de rappeler : a) L’utilisation des certificats de sécurité donne lieu, dans la réalité, à une détention de durée indéterminée ou à la perte, pour une durée indéterminée, de la liberté et du droit à la vie privée en vertu de régimes d’assignation à résidence surveillée et d’ordonnances de contrôle – ce qui constitue une violation de la justice naturelle et des obligations internationales du Canada en vertu du Pacte international relatif aux droits civils et politiques; b) L’utilisation des certificats de sécurité mène à la déportation, à la détention, à l’assignation à résidence surveillée et aux ordonnances de contrôle sur la foi d’allégations vagues et générales fondées sur des renseignements secrets qui n’ont pas été prouvés hors de tout doute raisonnable ; c) L’utilisation des certificats de sécurité fait en sorte que des personnes désignées vivent pour une période indéterminée sous la menace de la déportation vers la torture, ou sont effectivement déportées vers la torture – ce qui constitue une violation des obligations internationales du Canada en vertu de la Convention contre la torture et les traitements cruels, inhumains et dégradants ; d) Le régime des certificats de sécurité est discriminatoire puisqu’il s’applique uniquement aux non-citoyens, créant ainsi un système de justice à deux vitesses, et ce, contrairement aux garanties d’égalité devant la loi et de justice fondamentale enchâssées dans la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés. Pour la Ligue des droits et libertés, la possibilité de priver quelqu’un de sa liberté et de l’expulser du Canada en recourant à des preuves secrètes et possiblement obtenues sous la torture (d’autant plus que le gouvernement a tout récemment confirmé avoir donné l'ordre au SCRS de ne pas écarter des informations obtenues sous la torture lorsque "la vie humaine ou la sécurité publique ou la propriété est menacée") est tout simplement inacceptable et ne peut trouver de justification compte tenu des obligations qu’impose le plein respect des droits humains.

[video] Highlights From Our February 16th Press Conference in Ottawa

posted on February 22, 2012 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

Source: Prism Magazine URL: [link] Date: February 21, 2012 Thanks to Maher Arar and the talented people at Prism TV for putting together this video:

Déclaration de Le Coalition pour la surveillance internationale des libertés civiles

posted on February 20, 2012 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

Conférence de presse
Jeudi, 16 février, 2012
Propos de Roch Tassé
Coordonnateur national
Coalition pour la surveillance internationale des libertés civiles

En 2007, la Cour Supreme concluait unanimement que les dispositions de la Loi sur l’immigration et la protection des réfugiés concernant les certificats de sécurité étaient anti-constitutionnels et incompatibles avec la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés. La Cour reconnaissait que la non-divulgation d’informations utilisées dans la décision de détenir ou de déporter une personne est une violation de l’article 7 de la Charte, qui guarantit “… le droit à la vie, liberté et sécurité de sa personne ; qu’il ne peut être porté atteinte à ce droit qu’en conformité avec les principes de justice fondamentale”. Le Parlement avait un an pour corriger la situation.

Un plus tard, le gouvernement modifiait les disposition avec l’introduction de “l’avocat special”, à qui on accordait des pouvoirs limités d’agir au nom des détenus, mais sans régler le problème de fonds.

Le nouveau mécanisme permet toujours l’utilisation d’informations secrètes qui demeurent innaccessibles à la personne visée et à la défense. Il rend encore possible de détenir ou de déporter un individu, non pas sur la base de preuves solides requises par une cour de justice, mais sur la base de rapports et de conclusions du SCRS et de ses partenaires. Les critères de preuve admissible sont les plus bas de tout le système judiciaire canadien. Certaines informations utilisées peuvent être le fruit de la torture. Bien que l’avocat spécial puisse contester les rapports et les conclusions des agences de renseignement, il ne peut contre-intéroger la source des renseignements utilisés, par exemple un détenu dans une prison étrangère, ou un agent d’un autre pays.

Ultimement, le nouveau régime qui menace de mener à la deportation de Mohamed Harkat ou qui continue de justifer la détention de Mohammad Mahjoub depuis bientôt 12 ans, ne répond pas aux exigences du jugement de la Cour Suprême. Il perpétue la menace de la déportation vers la torture, et faute de déportation, ne règle pas la question de la détention indéfinie.

Un tel abus de justice est inacceptable et nous sommes d’avis que le cas doit retourner devant la Cour Suprême.

La seule façon de respecter les exigences guaranties par la Charte, et en accord avec les principes de justice fondamentale, est une poursuite en vertue du code criminel, ou de nouvelles dispositions avec des critères de preuve équivalents. S’il existe des preuves contre eux, les individus visés doivent avoir la possibilité de se defendre lors d’un process public et equitable, incluant l’accès aux elements de preuves utilisés contre eux.

D’ici là, nous demandons au gouvernement de suspendre la déportation de Mohamed Harkat.

Statement of Support from The Canadian Civil Liberties Association

posted on February 20, 2012 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

February 2012 CCLA Concerned About Lack of Constitutional Safeguards in Security Certificate Process

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) continues to be concerned that Canada’s Security Certificate process unjustifiably impairs key constitutional rights, including due process and compliance with the principles of fundamental justice. We are concerned that Named Individuals continue to be unaware of the full details of the case against them, and continue to be impaired in making full defence. We argue that the introduction of Special Advocates does not cure these concerns, because the Special Advocate is also constrained in communications with the Named I ndividual. We are concerned that evidence obtained from torture has been found by Canadian courts to have formed the bases of some Certificates. We are concerned that Named Individuals face possible deportation to countries, where these Individuals fear they risk being tortured. Finally we are concerned that by using Security Certificates against non- Canadians, we are creating a second tier of justice for non - Canadians or permanent residents. CCLA believes that the Security Certificate process is not compliant with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, does not demonstrably enhance national security, and fails to comply with Canada’s international law commitment to the absolute prohibition against torture.

Statement of Support From MP Don Davies

posted on February 20, 2012 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

Don Davies, Official Opposition Citizenship and Immigration Critic, regrets that he cannot be here to reiterate New Democrats’ longstanding opposition to the security certificate process and renew our call to end it. While it is important that our courts have the tools to address legitimate security threats, detaining individuals without charge, without trial, and without conviction for years is not an acceptable answer. Security certificates introduce a fundamentally unjust element into our justice and immigration systems. This is why many courts have raised serious concerns. Attempts to remedy these concerns, such as the introduction of special advocates, have not eliminated the inherent injustices surrounding the system. These cases must be dealt with through a fair and open due process, not arbitrary, secretive measures. We cannot allow fear to usurp fundamental principles of our justice system. Don Davies, MP Vancouver Kingsway

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