Security Certificates

Certificats de sécurité : L’inconfort de l’avocat spécial

posted on January 14, 2009 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

par Me. Hébert Source: Le Jounal, Barreau du Québec URL: N/A Date: 12 janvier 2009 Certificats de sécurité : L’inconfort de l’avocat spécial

L’opinion de Me Hébert, Le Journal, Barreau du Québec janvier 2009 L’examen d’un certificat de sécurité par la Cour fédérale comporte désormais l’intervention d’un tiers. Contraint par la Cour suprême(1) d’adoucir une procédure d’exception, le législateur fédéral a créé le rôle d’avocat spécial. Son mandat consiste à défendre les intérêts de la personne intéressée lors de toute audience tenue à huis clos et ex parte. Derrière des portes closes, il peut contredire les prétentions gouvernementales selon lesquelles la divulgation de renseignements porterait atteinte à la sécurité nationale. Il peut également contester la pertinence, la fiabilité et la suffisance des renseignements fournis par un ministre. Pour ce faire, il pourra contre-interroger les témoins et faire des représentations. À première vue, c’est un progrès ... La Cour suprême(2) a statué qu’une personne visée par un certificat de sécurité « bénéficie d’un droit élargi à l’équité procédurale, qui impose la divulgation de la preuve ». Un comité sénatorial sur l’antiterrorisme s’est dit préoccupé par l’absence de disposition précise donnant à l’avocat spécial le pouvoir d’exiger la divulgation de tous les documents qu’il juge pertinents. Tout bien pesé, pour la personne visée, c’est un progrès mitigé.

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Canada's shameful security legacy

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

by Monia Mazigh
Source: The Toronto Star
URL: [link]
Date: January 12, 2009

Last week, the last person held under a security certificate in Canada was ordered released by an Ontario judge under strict conditions. Hassan Almrei, a Syrian national, was held in solitary confinement for almost eight years under the controversial security certificate process.

He protested the conditions of his incarceration with the only tool that he had, launching several hunger strikes in an attempt to have his most basic rights respected.

He is suspected of terrorism but was never charged with any crime and was never given the opportunity to defend himself in an open trial.

Two years ago, the federal government decided to build a facility segregated from other inmates on the grounds of Millhaven penitentiary in Kingston, Ont.

This small maximum-security prison for foreign terror suspects detained in Canada cost $3.2 million to build and millions more to run.

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Final national security certificate suspect released

posted on January 03, 2009 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by Canwest News Service
Source: The Calgary Herald
URL: [link]
Date: January 2, 2009

[PHOTO: Hassan Almrei was arrested in 2001 after the Canadian Security Intelligence Service alleged he was part of a Sunni extremist network. A Federal Court judge ruled Jan. 2 Almrei can no longer justifiably be detained.]

A Federal Court judge ruled Friday that the final terrorism suspect being held in Canada on a national security certificate be released.

Justice Richard Mosley ruled Hassan Almrei, who has been in custody since October 2001, can no longer justifiably be detained.

"I have concluded that his continued detention can no longer be justified and that he should be released under strict conditions pending a determination of the reasonableness of the security certificate under which he is presently detained, and if the certificate should be found to be reasonable, until a determination is made whether he can be removed from Canada to his country of nationality or some other country," Mosley wrote.

Almrei, a Syrian, came to Canada in 1999 as a refugee claimant.

He was arrested in Toronto in 2001 after the Canadian Security Intelligence Service alleged he was part of a Sunni extremist network. He initially denied the allegations against him, but later explained he had taken part in paramilitary activities in Afghanistan until 1995.

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VIDEO: CBC News on Bill C-3 from last year

posted on December 24, 2008 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

Source: CBC News URL: [link] Date: December 23, 2008

News on BillC-3 from one year ago

I found this Julie Van Dusen (CBC) report posted on It's an old one, from October 2007 when the conservative government first introduced Bill C-3. It had not been rammed through the legislature just yet.

Seething lawyers demand answers over spy agency phone tapping

posted on December 20, 2008 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by newswire (?)
Source: The Sault Star
URL: [link]
Date: December 19, 2008

TORONTO — Lawyers still seething after learning Canada's spy agency had been listening to their phone calls with their suspected terrorist clients were demanding answers from the government Friday along with assurances the practice would cease in three other cases.

In addition, they demanded to know on an "urgent basis" how the government planned to destroy records of already intercepted calls.

"We have no explanation yet but I am not finished with this," said lawyer Marlys Edwardh.

Edwardh, who along with Barb Jackman represents Mohammad Mahjoub, said she was "just apoplectic" when she discovered the Canadian Security Intelligence Service had been listening in on their calls with their client.

The information emerged publicly Thursday when Federal Court Judge Carolyn Layden-Stevenson released information supplied at a secret hearing by a senior spy-service agent.

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Lawyers furious that spy agency listening to calls with terror suspects

posted on December 19, 2008 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by Colin Perkel
Source: The Canadian Press
URL: [link]
Date: December 18, 2008

TORONTO - Lawyers defending terrorism suspects expressed outrage Thursday that Canada's spy agency has been listening in on their telephone conversations with their clients.

Court documents show the Canadian Security Intelligence Service has been monitoring the calls to ensure the suspects don't breach stringent bail conditions. "I was flabbergasted when I was informed," said Matt Webber, an Ottawa lawyer for Mohamed Harkat, a suspected Algerian terrorist released from custody in May 2006.

"My client's consent never for a moment contemplated the invasion of solicitor-client privilege."

Federal Court Judge Carolyn Layden-Stevenson publicly released information about the wiretapping in a Toronto court Thursday.

"The CSIS analyst ... listens to all intercepted communications, including solicitor-client communications if any," Layden-Stevenson wrote.

Her summary pertains to phone tapping that occurred in the case of Mohammad Mahjoub, an Egyptian detained as a threat to public safety because of his alleged ties to al-Qaida.

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Justice in Tiers: Security Certificate Detention in Canada

posted on December 11, 2008 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

-- Author and researcher Mike Larsen has offered us a sneak preview of an article he wrote for The Journal of Prisoners on Prisons titled "Justice in Tiers: Security Certificate Detention in Canada". It was co-authored with Sophie Harkat and Mohamed Harkat. It is in PDF format, and you can download it from our Downloads Section HERE. Thanks Mike.

Update & Call for Solidarity

posted on November 20, 2008 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by "Justice for Adil" Source: Coalition Justice pour Adil Charkaoui URL: [link] Date: November19, 2008 It has been a long time since we sent an update on Adil Charkaoui's struggle to clear his name. Much has happened in all five security certificate cases in the past months, while in the next few months, we expect to see decisions which could decide the fates of the secret trial five and their families. For the individuals and families imprisoned in this indefinite nightmare, it continues to be devastating; a burden that is extremely difficult to carry alone. We hope you can respond to the call for solidarity at the end of this message. This message is long but it is in the details that you can get a full sense of what is going on. --------------------------------- SHOW YOUR SOLIDARITY: --> Organizations: Join Federal Court Watch to help hold the Federal Court to a reasonable standard of fairness. More information: [link] --> Individuals: Take an hour or two to come out to the court hearings in solidarity with the Charkaoui family. Even an hour will mean a lot!! Hearings scheduled from 24 to 28 November; and from 8 to 19 December. But check for updates: [link] --> All: Join the cross-Canada day of action against these secret rendition hearings on 10 December, international human rights day. **More ways of getting involved and details below.** --------------------------------- The Dance of Disclosure

On learning in February 2007 that the Supreme Court considered the security certificate process to be unconstitutional, the Canadian government adopted an "add and shake well" approach: add special advocate, shake thoroughly (especially the victims), and continue as though everything is fine. Disturbingly, this attitude seems to be shared by the Federal Court of Canada, an institution that has failed to wake up to the fact that it has been applying an illegal law for years.

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GLOBE & MAIL: The costliest way is not the only way

posted on November 18, 2008 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by unsigned editorial
Source: The Globe and Mail
URL: [link]
Date: November 18, 2008

There is something about the story of secret agents following suspected terrorist Mohamed Harkat into an Ottawa washroom and sitting behind him and his wife in a movie - Bon Cop, Bad Cop - that nicely illustrates the way Canadian democracy bends over backward to ensure that due process and liberty survive in the age of terror.

Mr. Harkat's supporters say he is subject to severe conditions of house arrest: He may leave his home on preauthorized trips for only four hours at a time, and only 12 hours a week, and only if he is accompanied by his wife. He contends that these conditions are unnecessary and are ruining his life, and is challenging them in court. Canadian taxpayers may also wish to challenge them; it turns out that up to six officers for the Canadian Border Services Agency worked full-time tracking Mr. Harkat on foot, by car and electronically. The cost in 2006-07 was at least $576,886 ($868,700 was budgeted), plus $31,000 for a new car. Imagine all the displaced persons in refugee camps who could be brought to Canada for that amount.

There are no perfect alternatives. One option is to leave him in jail, but the Federal Court says, No, his risk can probably be managed in the community. Another is to drop the extra security and cross our fingers.

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Watching an al-Qaeda suspect costs up to $1 million - a year

posted on November 17, 2008 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by Colin Freeze
Source: The Globe and Mail
URL: [link]
Date: November 16, 2008

Keeping tabs on suspected al-Qaeda members who have been released into Canadian communities may be costing taxpayers $500,000 to $1-million a year in each case, according to new research.

A York University PhD sociology student has unearthed many of the controversial "security-certificate" program's specific costs by digging up the price the government pays for round-the-clock monitoring, including staffing costs, electronic bracelets, cars, gas and overtime.

In one case, federal department officials budgeted for six full-time agents to watch one released prisoner, at an annual cost of $868,700.

"It is a make-it-up-as-you-go-along policy and the Canadian cases are rather unique in this regard," said researcher Mike Larsen. "The government has adopted the worst of both worlds: You've got individuals subject to certificates in a legal limbo - and you've created this ongoing expensive policy with no end in sight."

Mr. Larsen said the government has never revealed the total cost of its surveillance programs. "It's interesting to note these costs aren't made public," he said. "They aren't part of the debate."

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