Security Certificates

Statement of Support From The National Council of Canadian Muslims

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

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (formerly known as Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations) today reiterates its opposition to the flawed Security Certificates process which fails to account for transparency and respect for due process.

The highly criticized process allows for secret evidence to be used to detain and deport non-citizens if they are deemed a threat to national security. If any security certificate detainee is guilty of wrong-doing, then they must be afforded the basic human right to due process; they should be able to hear and challenge the evidence against them. Deeming a detainee to be a terrorist, based on secret intelligence whose sources may be questionable, and then deporting him to face possible torture is not only inhumane, it is counter-intuitive.

We, once again, call on the federal government to report in detail on the implementation of the extensive recommendations made by Justice Dennis O’Connor in the two Arar Inquiry reports. Those recommendations call for sufficient oversight resources and mechanisms to protect essential rights and liberties and check the powers given to and wielded by our security agencies.

NCCM - National Council of Canadian Muslims | [link]

[video] Secret Canada

posted on January 24, 2012 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

Here is a 2009 documentary by filmmakers Lillian Boctor and Ryan Mulligan. It is about the injustice of the security certificate process.

Taking Liberties: Canada's secret trial cases built on torture

posted on December 22, 2011 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by Matthew Behrens
Date: December 21, 2011

Four years after the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously found them unconstitutional, secret hearing "security certificates" are still in use, with a number of Muslim men fighting unseen allegations while under threat of deportation to torture.

Security certificates have long been used by Canada's scandal-plagued spy agency CSIS (the Canadian Security Intelligence Service) to tar refugees and permanent residents as national security threats without having to explain the allegations against them. Those detained under the process are never charged, and subjected to lower standards than those applying to any citizen facing similar accusations. Indeed, the law governing the procedure allows for the introduction of any piece of information "even if it is inadmissible in a court of law."

For the past decade, five Muslim men -- dubbed the Secret Trial Five -- have endured this Kafkaesque process both behind bars and under humiliating house arrest. Last month, the release of two formerly classified documents indicates that the national security secrecy claims that form the bedrock of these cases have in fact served as a cover for illegal and unethical acts by CSIS.

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CSIS 'has been lying to us for years'

posted on December 06, 2011 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

By Marion Scott
Source: The Montreal Gazaette
URL: [link]
Date: December 5, 2011

[PHOTO: Former CSIS director Jim Judd issued a "secret" memo while at the helm of the spy agency April 15, 2000, stating the terrorism threat in Canada had not been exaggerated.}

MONTREAL - Advocates for five men arrested under security certificates said they were stunned to learn from a Gazette report that Canada’s spy agency believed cases against them could fall apart if it could not use information obtained by torture.

On Saturday, The Gazette revealed that in 2008, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) warned the minister of public security that it could become impossible to use security certificates to arrest and deport suspected terrorists if it was prohibited from using information from regimes known to use torture.

In a letter obtained by The Gazette, former CSIS director Jim Judd warned that a proposed bill then before Parliament “could render unsustainable the current security certificate proceedings.” A security certificate is a means by which the government may detain and deport non-citizens perceived as a threat to national security.

The letter calls into question CSIS’s assurances that it did not countenance the use of torture.

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Leak of defamatory information: A recurring nightmare

posted on August 10, 2011 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by Coalition Justice Pour Adil Charkaoui Source: Press Release URL: [link] Date: August 10, 2011 Press Release Leak of defamatory information: A recurring nightmare Coalition calls for public inquiry into second leak

Montreal, 10 August 2011 -- The Coalition Justice for Adil Charkaoui is outraged by the leak of a secret document containing completely false allegations against Montrealer Adil Charkaoui, whose security certificate case was struck down in 2009. Noting that an almost identical leak happened in 2007, the Coalition is calling for a public inquiry and asking other Canadians to join it in challenging Minister Jason Kenney's unacceptable comments. "These allegations are false and constitute a wholly unmerited attack on my reputation and my security," said Mr. Charkaoui. "I spent six years of my life proving my innocence in a secret court process when I didn't even know what I was accused of. After the federal court revoked the security certificate against me, I expressed the hope that I wouldn't spend the rest of my life as an 'ex-suspected'. Now, almost two years after the court cleared my name, I find myself again in the court of public opinion. This must stop." "It's like a recurring nightmare. La Presse published the same story in 2007 following the leak of another secret document which contained the same unfounded allegations. That document was later submitted to court and, in a January 2008 decision, Justice Noel of the Federal Court of Canada found the allegations to be unsubstantiated; Justice Tremblay-Lamer arrived at the same conclusion in 2009. How many times do I have to clear myself of the same allegations?" asked the Montreal high school teacher and father of four. "'We want a public inquiry into who is responsible for this leak and what the motivations were behind it," said Anna Malla, of the Coalition Justice for Adil Charkaoui. "We want to know what interests lie behind it; who is trying to manipulate the media and the public. The timing of this leak is highly suggestive, seeing that Mr. Charkaoui launched a lawsuit in 2009 to hold the government accountable for the abuse of his rights in the security certificate case. There are certain other indications that lead us to believe that high ranking officials may have been directly involved in this leak." "In 2007, the RCMP announced they were launching a criminal inquiry into the leak of the secret document, and CSIS announced they were launching an internal inquiry. The results of those inquiries were never made public and no one was ever held accountable. Why not? This time we insist on a public inquiry," continued Mary Foster, another member of the Coalition. "We also want Jason Kenney to explain his comments. Instead of condemning the leak, which was a criminal act, a violation - in his terms - of national security, and an attack on the security and reputation of two individuals, he used the leak to score political points and attempt to justify government abuses in the cases of these two men. If the courts have examined these allegations and been satisfied that they have no foundation, or if they are so hollow that they didn't even make it to court in the first place, what business is it of a cabinet minister's to announce that they constitute 'robust evidence'?" asked Foster. "In any case, we have now seen the secret document the sensationalist La Presse piece was based on, and if this is what Mr. Kenney calls 'very robust evidence', he should consider sitting down with a Department of Justice lawyer to get straight on a few of the finer points of the legal system in this country. Frankly, it is dangerous to have someone like that in public office." "His comments about 'political support groups' appear to be intended to silence public criticism of the government; to silence us. Well, they won't," added Foster. "We call on everyone in Canada to join us in sending a clear message to Mr. Kenney - through public statements, letters, press releases, public actions - that we will not be frightened into silence but will continue to fight for the rights of all." Coalition Justice for Adil Charkaoui

Documenting Canada's 'war on terror'

posted on June 12, 2011 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by Sara Falconer
URL: [link]
Date: June 10, 2011

For any documentary filmmaker, gaining the subjects' trust is a challenge. But how do you break through to men who are still in the midst of a Kafka-esque ordeal of torture, secret trials, and constant surveillance?

Director Amar Wala and producer Noah Bingham are grappling with these issues as they film The Secret Trial 5, a crowdfunded documentary that takes a personal look at Canada's "war on terror." Their subjects, five Muslim men, have been held for over a decade using security certificates, a controversial measure of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) that allows non-citizens to be detained indefinitely. Hassan Almrei, Adil Charkaoui, Mohamed Harkat, Mahmoud Jaballah, and Mohammad Mahjoub each spent two to seven years in prison, but have never been charged with a crime. Their lawyers and human rights groups have expressed strong concerns that the secret "evidence" against them is little more than hearsay, obtained by foreign agencies using torture.

Wala, who moved to Toronto with his family from Bombay when he was 11, first learned about security certificates from one of his professors at York University. "It's something I never would have believed existed in Canada," he says. His award-winning narrative short, The Good Son, told the true story of Mahmoud Jaballah's young son Ahmad, who was asked to translate for his father during a CSIS (Canadian Security and Intelligence Services) interrogation in their home.

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FTQ prends position contre les certificats de sécurité

posted on April 17, 2011 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

par Fernand Deschamps Source: N/A URL: N/A Date: 16 avrils 2011 Voici la résolution du Congrès de la FTQ (résolution no. 128) et qui fut adoptée au conseil général de la FTQ le 16 mars dernier. CERTIFICATS DE SÉCURITÉ ATTENDU QUE le syndicalisme exercé par la FTQ et ses syndicats affiliés repose sur des principes de défense des droits des travailleurs autant au travail que dans la société civile; ATTENDU QUE le droit à un procès juste et équitable, dans le respect du principe de la justice naturelle, constitue un droit fondamental de la personne tel que garanti par la Charte québécoise et la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés de la personne; ATTENDU QUE le gouvernement canadien utilise les certificats de sécurité et tient des procédures où la preuve secrète est en violation directe des droits de la personne, à l’issue de laquelle la personne peut être déportée vers la torture, pratique que dénoncent les agences internationales de surveillance des droits civils au Canada ou ailleurs; ATTENDU QUE cette pratique de la loi prive toute personne du droit à une défense pleine et entière, contrevenant ainsi aux principes de protection et de défense pourtant prévus par notre système de justice; ATTENDU QUE la Cour suprême du Canada a reconnu le 23 février 2007 que les certificats de sécurité ne devraient pas enfreindre le principe de justice fondamentale, malgré le fait que les certificats de sécurité aient un rôle à jouer en matière de sécurité nationale; ATTENDU QUE la loi C-3 ne propose que des modifications mineures qui ne rétablissent en rien le droit à un procès équitable, principe de la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés; ATTENDU QUE la contestation judiciaire se poursuit contre les certificats de sécurité; QU’IL SOIT RÉSOLU QUE la FTQ et ses syndicats affiliés dénoncent les certificats de sécurité et exigent le retrait de cette disposition de la Loi sur l’immigration et la protection des réfugiés.

Fighting Security Certificates

posted on March 01, 2011 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by Alex Di Pietro
Source: The Link (Concordia University, Montreal)
URL: [link]
Date: February 8, 2011

Representatives from respective community groups lashed out against the issuance of Canadian security certificates and other immigration security measures during a panel discussion in the Hall Building on Sunday.

The Government of Canada has issued security certificates to foreign nationals it deems can pose a threat to Canada. While no actual charges have been laid, the government has used secret evidence to reach a decision. The outcomes of approved security certificates consist of detention and deportation. Twenty-eight security certificates have been issued since 1991.

The common fear for those issued security certificates is that, upon being deported back to their country of origin, they will run a high risk of being to tortured.

“Ask any Canadian, left or right, if [he or she] thinks it’s correct to throw someone in jail without knowing why,” said Hassan Almrei, a Syrian-born refugee from Toronto who was detained for nearly seven-and-a-half years on suspicion of having terrorist links.

Almrei staged three hunger strikes during his detention in various Ontario prisons from 2001 until his release 2009—the last ending after he fasted for more than five months at the Kingston Immigration Holding Centre.
“My mouth was my only weapon,” said Almrei in regards to his aim of attracting public attention. He still has no idea why he was detained.

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PHOTOS from The Peoples Commission Forum, Montreal, Feb. 2011

posted on February 18, 2011 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

Here are some photos taken at the event "Whose security? Our Security! Countering the National Security Agenda" held earlier this month in Montreal. The CBSA refused Mohamed Harkat permission to attend this Forum which included a dinner in his honor. Thanks to our Friend Darren Ell for taking these photos at the Montreal event and for sharing them with us. All images: © Darren Ell 2011 Personal Website:
Online Photo Archive:
Wedding Photography:

Auditorium in The Hall Building, Concordia University.

Ellen Gabriel, activist from the community of Kanehsatake

Mary Foster, one of the chief organizers of the event.

Lots of warm meals were served by volunteers.

Longtime Harkat Committee member Jo Wood speaks as Sophie Harkat and others listen. All images: © Darren Ell 2011



Amid security certificate headaches, government quietly studies alternatives

posted on January 28, 2011 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by: Jim Bronskill, CP
Source: The Winnipeg Free Press
URL: [link]
Date: January 27, 2011

OTTAWA - The government is quietly studying alternatives to deporting terrorism suspects under the much-maligned national security certificate as attempts to remove them get bogged down in the courts.

The effort reflects candid federal admissions that it's almost impossible to send non-citizens with alleged terror links to their home countries because they may be tortured or killed.

Currently, three people arrested under security certificates — Mohamed Harkat of Algeria, and Mahmoud Jaballah and Mohamed Zeki Mahjoub, both from Egypt — are out on bail under strict surveillance as their cases slowly grind through the courts.

Harkat was recently served with a deportation order, but his lawyers argue he should not be removed while the security certificate system is still under judicial review.

A federal interdepartmental body known as the Alternatives to Removal Working Group began meeting in March 2009 to explore policy options for managing people deemed a threat to national security, documents disclosed under the Access to Information Act show.

The group, which includes the RCMP, Citizenship and Immigration, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Canada Border Services Agency, Justice, Public Safety and Foreign Affairs, has "produced a detailed body of work" on tools available under the law, says one internal memo.

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