Security Certificates

Charkaoui freed, Ottawa’s terror law shattered

posted on September 25, 2009 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by Les Perreaux and Colin Freeze Source: The Globe and Mail URL: [link] Date: September 24, 2009 Al-Qaeda suspect freed, Ottawa’s terror law shattered

The final electronic shackle binding a man accused of terrorism to federal supervision was cut Thursday, leaving in tatters the government's security-certificate system for detaining foreigners believed to be a threat. “It's official,” Adil Charkaoui said as he clutched an order issued abruptly by Federal Court Judge Danièle Tremblay-Lamer that lifted all remaining bail conditions on him. “I've been waiting on this for six years.” Held under a security certificate as an al-Qaeda suspect since 2003, the Montreal schoolteacher from Morocco was given back his liberty after the Crown withdrew much of its evidence in a bid to keep it secret. The federal lawyers pleaded with the judge to leave some bail conditions in place while they seek to appeal orders to disclose the information. Judge Tremblay-Lamer freed Mr. Charkaoui even as she postponed making an official ruling on the viability of the case until a final closed-door hearing next week. “The certificate will fall,” she said. “How, is the question.” As Mr. Charkaoui fought the system that allowed the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to use secret evidence to brand him a threat, the Supreme Court of Canada twice ordered the spy agency to reveal more of its information.

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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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Divisive terror law losing traction

posted on September 21, 2009 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by Colin Freeze
Source: The Globe & Mail
URL: [link]
Date: September 21, 2009

Ottawa will scuttle one of its high-profile "security-certificate" terrorism cases later this week [ the case of Adil Charkaoui], amid a growing reluctance to use the extraordinary power to deport suspected terrorists, according to recent court filings.

The move is likely the beginning of the end of the controversial tool that Ottawa has relied upon since the end of the Cold War, to kick out foreign spies and alleged terrorists. This position follows several embarrassing court-ordered revelations, including that the country's spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, has buried information from its own dubious sources and repeated evidence from U.S. allies who subjected al-Qaeda suspects to the harsh interrogations.

The security-certificate tool has been used about once a year since it was put on the books in the late 1980s, but no new cases have been launched in three years.

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Vos papiers!

posted on August 24, 2009 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

par Nicolas Mavrikakis Source: URL: [link] Date: 20 août 2009 Darren Ell est un photographe engagé. Dans son expo intitulée Entre états, il nous montre les limites de nos démocraties.

Nous pourrions avoir le sentiment que les questions soulevées par l'expo de Darren Ell ne nous concernent pas totalement. Les situations des nouveaux arrivants en attente de leur statut légal de réfugiés ou celles des citoyens détenus en prison ou placés sous surveillance pour un temps indéterminé avec un certificat de sécurité (grâce auquel les preuves de la possibilité de la culpabilité de l'individu sont gardées secrètes), devraient-elles troubler notre confort? Si nous avons de la difficulté à avoir de l'empathie pour les individus que nous présente Darren Ell, il suffit, pour nous convaincre du contraire, de se rappeler les mésaventures de Suaad Hagi Mohamud, Torontoise d'origine somalienne coincée depuis le mois de mai au Kenya. Du jour au lendemain, elle s'est retrouvée désignée comme criminelle, dans l'impossibilité de venir retrouver son enfant au pays. Malgré son passeport canadien, elle fut déclarée comme un imposteur par les représentants consulaires canadiens et livrée à la justice du Kenya, car ses lèvres ne ressemblaient pas à celles apparaissant sur la photographie de son passeport... Nous pouvons tous un jour nous retrouver dans une situation de cet ordre, désarmés devant la bêtise d'un système douanier ou des autorités policières. Nos lois et notre gouvernement nous protégeront-ils?

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Terror cases should be dropped because CSIS lacks credibility: Lawyers

posted on July 24, 2009 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by Janice Tibbetts
Source: Canwest News Service
URL: [link]
Date: June 30, 2009

OTTAWA — Lawyers for two foreign terror suspects said Tuesday the cases against the men should be dropped in light of new revelations that Canada's spy agency admitted, for the second time in a month, that its intelligence sources were tainted.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service's faulty information indicates there is a systemic problem with the agency's credibility that further undermines the secretive federal program of issuing security certificates, say lawyers Lorne Waldman and Norm Boxall.

"It is obviously a very, very serious problem and it goes to the heart of the administration of justice," said Waldman.

He will ask a judge next week to quash the security certificate against Hassan Almrei, a Toronto man Ottawa is seeking to deport on suspicion of having terrorist ties.

The controversial certificates allow judges to consider information behind closed doors on whether non-Canadian terror suspects should be deported.

Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley wrote Waldman this week telling him that CSIS has admitted that one of its informants against Almrei is considered "deceptive" and another source never took a lie-detector test, despite earlier CSIS assertions that he had passed.

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Coalition renews call for end to secret trials

posted on June 28, 2009 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by Garrett Zehr
Source: The Tyee
URL: [link]
Date: June 26, 2009

VANCOUVER - The federal government must abolish security certificates and apologize for its treatment of five men detained under the controversial process, say human and legal rights advocates on a cross-country tour to build public support.

“Secret trials are unacceptable for all Canadians who value the rule of law,” said Fernand Dechamps of the Justice for Adil Charkaoui Coalition. “Our security lies in the defence of the rights of all.”

Montreal resident Adil Charkaoui arrived in British Columbia this week to speak about his own experience under a security certificate and his attempts to clear his name.

“I want to talk directly to Canadians -- to show them that I was treated unfairly by our government,” he said at a press conference yesterday with supporters from the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, the Council of Canadians and Amnesty International.

Charkaoui was arrested and detained in 2003 under the security certificate process, a special deportation proceeding used only against non-citizens. The accused are usually denied the right to see evidence against them and can face indefinite detention.

Four other men -- Mohammad Mahjoub, Mahmoud Jaballah, Hassan Almrei and Mohamed Harkat -- have also been imprisoned in Canada using security certificates in recent years. All remain under some form of house arrest, monitoring or detention.

After being released from prison in 2006, Charkaoui continued to face strict house arrest conditions, many of which were finally removed by the Federal Court of Canada last year.

“It’s a lot of progress from a small cell of two metres to [being allowed to fly on a] plane,” Charkaoui said.

However, he still faces some restrictions, including a requirement to wear an anklet monitoring device. He also must advise the Canadian Border Service Agency 48 hours in advance of any travel plans outside Montreal.

His coalition of supporters is calling for the complete removal of all these restrictions and a vindication of his name. They are also demanding a full public apology from the federal government and the abolition of the security certificates.

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Key polygraph tests withheld

posted on June 08, 2009 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by Tonda MacCharles, Ottawa Bureau Source: The Toronto Star URL: [link] Date: June 6, 2009 OTTAWA – The Canadian Security Intelligence Service has ordered an "exhaustive review" of all five of its security certificate cases after a Federal Court judge slammed the spy agency for withholding lie detector results that cast doubt on a source key to the effort to deport Mohamed Harkat. In a scramble to restore its credibility in the face of a tougher line coming from the Federal Court, CSIS advised in a letter the mistake in Harkat's case was "inexcusable." The agency says it is taking several steps to allay any doubts about the "integrity" of its evidence or employees. "The service is resolute in its determination to restore judicial confidence in (the agency's) integrity and credibility," lawyer Michael Duffy, senior general counsel for CSIS, wrote in a letter addressed to Chief Justice Allan Lutfy of the Federal Court. CSIS says "the incident ... is a matter of profound concern to the service," especially given its obligation to present the court with a "frank view of the human source." The federal government alleges Harkat and four other Muslim men are threats to national security, and is using extraordinary immigration warrants that permit secret evidence to be used against them in deportation proceedings. In the case of Harkat, an Ottawa pizza delivery man who was arrested in 2002, CSIS now admits it should have disclosed negative polygraph test results from 2002 and 2008 about a male source whose "loyalty to the service" was considered suspect. It acknowledged the omission in the Harkat case raises questions about whether the same has happened in the cases of the other four men subject to similar secret proceedings – Mahmoud Jaballah, Mohamed Mahjoub, Hassan Almrei, or Adil Charkaoui.

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Mahjoub wants back in jail to protest bail: wife

posted on March 22, 2009 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

Source: CBC News
URL: [link]
Date: March 18, 2009

[PHOTO: Mohammad Mahjoub, seen in an undated family photo, spent seven years in a Canadian jail as a terrorism suspect. (Toronto Star/Canadian Press) ]

Terrorism suspect Mohammad Mahjoub is fed up with "oppressive" bail conditions being imposed on his whole family and wants to be returned to jail as an act of protest, his wife said Tuesday.

The family is expected to appear in a Toronto court Wednesday, where they will ask that Mohammad Mahjoub be returned to custody, a request he also made about a year ago.

In 2007, a Federal Court judge ordered he be freed on bail pending a review of his case.

He had been in custody since June 2000 on suspicions of terrorist links and was being held on a security certificate, which allows federal authorities to detain suspects deemed to pose a threat to national security without having to lay charges or disclose evidence. He was accused of being linked to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

When Mahjoub asked to be taken back into custody last March, authorities refused, saying he had not breached any of his bail conditions.

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Globe and Mail editorial calls for deportation to torture as a "way out of the quandary"

posted on February 24, 2009 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by Unsigned Editorial Source: The Globe and Mail URL: [link] Date: February 23, 2009 The way out of the quandary

Canada should follow Britain's example and seek to deport foreign terror suspects, even to states that use torture, but only after officials at the highest levels - the foreign minister or prime minister - extract assurances of humane treatment from their counterparts in the other countries. It is the only way out of the quandary in which democracies find themselves with foreign suspects, and Britain's highest court endorsed it unanimously last week. King Abdullah of Jordan gave his assurance to former prime minister Tony Blair in the case of Abu Qatada, an incendiary preacher, and the British Law Lords said that assurance passed legal muster. Mr. Qatada is appealing the ruling to the European Court of Human Rights. (The Law Lords' ruling also permits the deportation of two other terror suspects to Algeria.) This ruling has a strong message for Canada and other democracies. European law contains an absolute prohibition against deporting to torture. No exceptions are permitted. Canadian law is not as absolute. If it makes sense and is legally possible in Britain, it should make a good escape hatch from the box in which Canada finds itself.

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Secret Trial House Arrest Used as Intelligence Gathering Project

posted on February 12, 2009 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by Matthew Behrens of The Campaign To Stop Secret Trials In Canada Source: Homes Not Bombs Blog URL: [link] Date: February 11, 2009 (This article is also available on a web page at [link] )

Secret Trial House Arrest Used as Massive Data Mining Project Secret Canadian Border Services Agency Manual on Security Certificate Detainees Reveals Operational Details Far Exceeding Court-Ordered Conditions

TORONTO, FEBRUARY 11, 2009 – In a stunning confirmation of what secret trials opponents have long suspected, a redacted version of a secret Canadian government manual reveals that the draconian conditions of house arrest imposed on those subject to security certificates are being used as a cover for intelligence gathering purposes on the detainees, their families, their supervisors, their friends, and their communities. There are currently four men under the most severe house arrest conditions in Canadian history, placed there because of the two-tier justice security certificate procedure declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in February 2007. Before their release from prison, they had to agree to court-imposed restrictions that included wearing GPS monitoring bracelets 24/7, agreeing to phone taps and opening of mail, surveillance cameras both outside and, in one case, inside their homes, and unannounced searches and seizures by government agencies. In addition, trips outside the house could occur only with government permission, no visitors are allowed without prior government approval, and there is no internet or cell phone access. These and a host of other measures are applied against individuals who have never been allowed to see the case against them, who face the lowest standards of any court in Canada, and who are fighting deportation to torture.

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