Updating Mohamed Harkat’s Persecution – by Stephen Lendman
An earlier article explained. Like in America, Canada is waging war on Islam, Mohamed Harkat one of many victims used for political advantage to incite fear and mask Ottawa’s support for US imperialism and war on terror, a bogus one affecting innocent victims like Harkat.
Based on spurious allegations of ties to Al Qaeda and the Armed Sayyaf Group (GIA), he was arrested on December 10, 2002 and imprisoned for the next four and a half years under Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act provision pertaining to the “security certificate” process.
Until Canada’s Supreme Court (in October 2007) ruled it unconstitutional in Charkaoui v. Canada, it let authorities detain and/or deport foreign nationals and other non-citizens suspected of human rights violations, alleged threats to national security, or claimed affiliation with organized crime, using secret evidence (like in America) withheld from counsel.
The same month, however, Canada’s House of Commons passed Bill C-3 (a so-called anti-terror measure), amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act by introducing a special advocate into the certificate process on the pretext of protecting subjects during secret proceedings.
This and other policies are troubling, including indefinite detentions, whether or not charged, draconian house arrest, and deportations to despotic states, ensuring torture, imprisonment or death, the reason people flee to Canada, believing they’ll be safe.
The special advocate provision, is fact, is reprehensible, providing legal cover for an unjust process designed to stigmatize, vilify, convict or deport targets to oblivion – on the pretext of protecting national security.
False! The provision mocks the rule of law, dispensing police state justice against human, civil rights, and anti-war advocates as well as Muslims like Harkat. It denies the presumption of innocence unless proved guilty beyond a shadow of doubt in fair, open hearings with full disclosure of evidence, nothing kept secret for any reason. Claiming national security is bogus. In real democracies, doing so is unconstitutional.
Mohamed Harkat – Targeted for His Faith and Ethnicity
He’s one of Canada’s Secret Trial Five – five Muslim men, bogusly arrested and persecuted. He wasn’t charged, but was imprisoned on secret evidence, denied bail, held mostly in solitary confinement, prevented from contacting family or friends, and under Canadian law can’t appeal a judge’s ruling by order of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). Yet he never before was accused, convicted, or even suspected of a crime. He’s an innocent man now. Authorities know it, but persecute him anyway ruthlessly.
On May 23, 2006, he was granted bail, transferred to house arrest under electronic monitoring and round-the-clock supervision, but faces deportation he’s struggling to prevent.
Last April 1, the Ottawa Citizen’s Mohammed Adam headlined, “Harkat terror case takes a serious hit,” saying:
“US report says his reputed al-Qaeda associate (Abu Zubaydah) actually had no ties to the terrorist group.” One of Harkat’s lawyers, Norm Boxall, called the new information significant, saying it destroyed a key part of the government’s case. Nonetheless, his struggle for justice continued, the latest news announced December 10 by CTV Ottawa headlining, “Mohamed Harket badly shaken after judge’s ruling,” saying:
Federal Court Justice Simon Noel upheld Harkat’s security certificate under the new law, “declar(ing) him a security threat to Canada, a ruling his lawyers” vow to appeal.
“I can’t sleep. I’m not thinking straight. I have pain in my stomach,” Harkat told a news conference.
Since his 2002 arrest, he consistently denied any connection to Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups, saying he’s been unfairly scapegoated by government security officials. “Somebody has to pay the price. I pay the price” unfairly.
Noel said Harkat’s testimony wasn’t credible or honest, just a carefully memorized story. “He has surrounded himself in layers of clouds in which he does not let any light come through. At times, his testimony was simply incoherent, implausible if not contradictory.”
He lied, knows Harkat is innocent, yet ruled against him anyway because no evidence whatever proves otherwise. If any existed, he’d have been charged, tried, convicted, imprisoned, or deported.
His wife Sophie called the ruling “a punch in the guts” to Mohamed, herself, their family and friends, knowing he’s innocent and has been unjustly treated for eight years. “Never in a million years did we ever expect a judgment like this,” she said. “This document in my opinion is a load of bull….We will never, ever accept this judgment. We asked for the truth and this is not” it.
It’s a judicial lynching, Noel disgracing himself and the federal bench by so ruling.
Matt Webber, one of Harkat’s lawyers, said it was based almost entirely on bogus evidence heard in secret, adding that he was never allowed to respond to the accusations.
“Numerous findings of fact were made against my client based on evidence I didn’t know about. It’s frustrating to say the least and we have every intention of appealing.”
It may include a constitutional challenge of the security certificate under which Harkat was arrested and held. Despite Canada’s Supreme Court striking down its original version, Harkat was lawlessly arrested, then released on bail under draconian house arrest conditions.
“We’ve still come through this case not knowing what many of the allegations are based on. How can we possibly respond. You need to be able to answer your accusers. You need to be able to defend yourself and at the end of the day it’s unfair….because we” cannot.
In a separate ruling, Noel upheld the constitutionality of the national security certificate system, no matter its illegitimacy, because the government wants it used to deport targets like Harkat.
Noel did let his lawyers submit questions that might be the basis of a Federal Court of Appeals challenge. Harkat maintains his innocence, insists he was bogusly charged, and explained if he’s extradited to Algeria he faces torture. “I’m really devastated,” he said. So are truth and justice supporters, appalled by a rogue judge’s ruling, targeting Muslims for their faith and ethnicity, not alleged crimes.
Like America, Canada dispenses police state justice, meaning none at all to targets the state wants convicted, imprisoned or deported.
Support from Canada’s National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE)
On December 10, James Clancy, NUPGE President wrote Mohamed and his wife Sophie, saying:
“I am writing this to you on International Human Rights Day….It deeply saddens me that we (again observe it) with Canada’s justice system still conducting secret trials.”
“It also saddens me that Mohamed must continue to fight for a fair and open hearing in a Canadian court….I want to assure you that despite the (court ruling, NUPGE) remains in opposition to secret trials in Canada.”
“The inability of an accused to challenge and question the evidence held against them is an affront to the fundamental principles of justice that my union holds dear….As in the past, (NUPGE) remains committed to seeing justice done for Mohamed Harkat.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.