Security Certificates

Lifting veil on vile practice (by Mike Larsen)

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

by Mike Larsen (letter to the editor) Source: The Toronto Star URL: [link] Date: January 14, 2009 Re:Detainee walking into legal limbo, Jan. 11

Congratulations to the Star, and particularly Michelle Shephard, for the excellent story and online video about Hassan Almrei. The recent history of indefinite detention practices, in Canada and abroad, is a history of secrecy, coercion and, above all, dehumanization. It is vitally important to our debates about these practices to recognize that "detainees" are human beings with their own lives, stories and voices, and articles like this help us to do that. To those who continue to support security certificates, I ask: Could you honestly look Mr. Almrei in the eyes and say, "I believe that we have been justified in imprisoning you for seven years without charge or trial"? It is easier to champion such cold-blooded policies when their targets are mere abstractions, rather than human beings. Mike Larsen Researcher, York Centre for International and Security Studies © Copyright Toronto Star 1996-2009

Tough house-arrest conditions ruled lawful

posted on January 15, 2009 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by Colin Freeze
Source: The Globe and Mail
URL: [link]
Date: January 15, 2009

Federal agents keeping tabs on two Egyptians suspected of links to terrorism will continue snapping surreptitious pictures of the suspects, keep following their footsteps, and carry on with seizing, scanning and archiving every piece of mail they receive.

Federal Court Judge Anne MacTavish ruled in a decision Thursday that none of these invasive measures violate the rights of the men, who had been arguing for a relaxation of the most stringent house-arrest conditions ever ordered by Canadian courts.

Lawyers for Mohamed Zeki Mahjoub and Mahmoud Jaballah failed to sway the court that federal agents should ease up on the photos, overt surveillance and mail seizures. The men had not been contesting other measures, such as the electronic ankle bracelets they wear at all times, their bugged phone lines or the bans on making unapproved excursions outside their homes.

The two decisions, each 55 pages, were released Thursday by Judge MacTavish and shed considerable light on the daily realities the men face as they are being monitored.

[ Read the rest ... ]

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 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.

[ Read the rest ... ]

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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