Other detainees

Ex-national security detainee, Hassan Almrei, wants speedy lawsuit judgment

By Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press, September 9, 2012

TORONTO - A judge's findings in freeing a Syrian-born man from almost eight years of national security detention should be enough to validate his civil claim against the federal government, his lawyers are set to argue this week.

On the contrary, government lawyers say, the Federal Court findings in favour of Hassan Almrei should not apply to his lawsuit because they were made for an entirely different purpose.

It will be up to Ontario's top court to choose between the two competing visions in deciding whether a lower court justice was right to side with the government.

Most of the arguments before the Ontario Court of Appeal are highly technical — essentially turning on whether the Federal Court that quashed Almrei's national security certificate decided once and for all the issues now at play in his civil suit.

Almrei, 38, of Mississauga, Ont., came to Canada in 1999 and was granted refugee status in 2000. He spent almost eight years in custody or house arrest as a security threat until Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley set aside the designation in December 2009 after a 38-day trial.

Mosley found no evidence he had ever been a member of al Qaida, and that the government relied on outdated information against him some of which might have been obtained through torture.

Wahid Baroud

Palestinian man Canada deported is welcomed as Belgian citizen

Jim Bronskill And Sue Bailey, Canadian Press, 15 December 2009

BRUSSELS, Belgium - A Palestinian man turfed from Canada as a national security risk has become a citizen of Belgium - one of Ottawa's steadfast European allies, The Canadian Press has learned.

It's the latest twist in the strange, often painful saga of Wahid Baroud. He was shipped off to Sudan 14 years ago this month under a national security certificate.

Along the way he lost a job, a son and his respect for Canada before gaining a country to call home after decades as a stateless wanderer.

"Canada is the reason for destroying my family, really," Baroud, 59, said during an interview in Brussels, the first time he has publicly told his story since being deported.

The security certificate, an immigration law process for removing suspected terrorists and spies, is buckling under the weight of successful court challenges and human-rights criticism.

Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan says the government is reviewing the certificate system after conceding it needs an overhaul.

Iqbal Singh

Alleged Sikh extremist vanishes after Canada deports him to Belize

Jim Bronskill and Sue Bailey, Canadian Press, 14 December 2009

OTTAWA Officials in Belize don't know what happened to an alleged Sikh extremist who made global waves when he bought a passport for the tropical paradise after being ordered out of Canada.

Iqbal Singh has quietly vanished.

Ten years ago next month, Singh left Toronto for the Central American fun-and-sun destination.

His arrival in an unsuspecting Belize caused a media sensation. The spotlight glare was apparently intense enough to drive Singh from the oasis he found upon paying about US$50,000 for a passport through a since-cancelled immigrant investor program.

At the time, flummoxed Belizean officials said they hadn't been warned about the terror allegations against Singh.

These days, they're not sure how to find him.

"We're not certain where Mr. Singh is at this time," said Insp. Bert Bowden of the Belize police department's Joint Intelligence Co-ordinating Center.

"But he no longer resides in Belize."

Mourad Ikhlef

Canada delivers deportee into arms of abusive Algerian secret police: watchdogs

Sue Bailey and Jim Bronskill, CP, 16 December 2009

MONTREAL - Canada deported a refugee to face a notoriously abusive intelligence service in Algeria where he was questioned under duress and denied a lawyer, say international justice watchdogs.

A United Nations working group says former Montrealer Mourad Ikhlef, removed to Algeria under a national security certificate, was jailed and interrogated in breach of basic legal principles.

Amnesty International found Ikhlef was held incommunicado and was refused counsel after Canada handed him over six years ago.

He left behind a devastated wife and two young children who have lived without him in Montreal ever since.

His brother, Nabil, still lives and works in the same Montreal neighbourhood where Mourad came under surveillance.

He says Canada abused security certificates in the rush to judgment after 9-11.

"When you accuse somebody of being a terrorist, that's it. He gets stuck with that title for his life.

Almrei: After eight years, government case declared bogus

Thomas Walkom, Toronto Star, 15 December 2009

Another of Ottawa's national security claims has proved bogus. For more than seven years ((CJFA: actually more than eight)), the federal government and its security bureaucrats insisted that alleged terrorist Hassan Almrei so threatened Canada that he had to be imprisoned without trial.

Even when Almrei was released earlier this year, he had to submit to an Orwellian form of house arrest.

Now, we find out that he was never a terrorist at all. More to the point, in quashing the security certificate that has kept the 35-year-old refugee in legal limbo for eight years, Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley ruled that the government's evidence against him was largely a confection, backed up by dubious newspaper clippings, sloppy history and unreliable evidence from informants who "had motive to concoct stories that cast Almrei in a negative light."

Mosley's 183-page ruling should be required reading. It lays out in painstaking detail how easy it is for national security bureaucrats and their political masters to misuse the extraordinary powers given to them.

Federal Court quashes a second security certificate

Ruling another blow to controversial certificate system

TU THANH HA, Globe and Mail, 15 December 2009

New disclosure obligations set out by the Supreme Court of Canada have played a key part in the collapse of a federal security certificate case against a second terrorism suspect.

In quashing the certificate against the Syrian-born Toronto resident Hassan Almrei, a Federal Court judge said yesterday that the material the Canadian Security Intelligence Service disclosed to the court under the new rules contradicted information from its informants.

In his ruling, Mr. Justice Richard Mosley also said CSIS filed outdated, unreliable information about how al-Qaeda operates.

The ruling is the latest blow to the controversial certificate system, which relies on evidence heard in secret to detain and deport foreign residents.

"This decision proves this process is a flawed process," said Mr. Almrei's lawyer, Lorne Waldman. The new rules have helped, he said, but "I still don't believe it is a fair process."

Mr. Almrei is a former mujahed who went to Afghanistan in the 1990s. His arrest in 2001 was justified, but he's no longer a security threat, Judge Mosley wrote.

Hassan Almrei: Second Certificate Falls

Two down; three to go ...

extracts from a report by the Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada

In a 183-page decision released today, Judge Richard Mosley of the Federal Court found, "Having considered all of the information and other evidence presented to the Court, I am satisfied that Hassan Almrei has not engaged in terrorism and is not and was not a member of an organization that there are reasonable grounds to believe has, does or will engage in terrorism. I find that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that Hassan Almrei is today, a danger to the security of Canada. Thus, I find that none of the grounds of inadmissibility in subsection 34(1) of the Act have been made out and, accordingly, I find that the certificate is not reasonable and must be quashed."

Last security certificate detainee to be freed

January 02, 2009, Michelle Shephard, Toronto Star

The last remaining terrorism suspect (sic) who has been held for seven years under a "national security certificate" has been ordered released from detention.

Federal court Justice Richard Mosley ruled Friday that there is no evidence that Syrian Hassan Almrei "poses a threat to the safety of any individual" and should be released under strict conditions.

"I am satisfied that any risk that he might pose to national security or of absconding can be neutralized by conditions," Mosley wrote in his 100-page ruling.

Conditions for his release will likely include 24-hour monitoring by agents with the Canada Border Services Agency, wearing a GPS monitoring bracelet and a ban on any use of cellphones or computers.

"Hassan was very, very happy – very pleased," said his lawyer Lorne Waldman after speaking with Almrei by phone. "Personally, I'm delighted. Holding someone in Canada without charge, without trial, is a very serious matter and I'm relieved that this detention will end soon."

Lawyers furious that spy agency listening to calls with terror suspects

By Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press, 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.

Critics demand review of 'culture of impunity' in security

Most officials linked to faulty intelligence still in positions
Andrew Duffy, The Ottawa Citizen, 24 October 2008

Human rights activists say this country will foster "a culture of impunity" if security officials are not held accountable for actions that contributed to the suffering of four Canadians tortured in Syria and Egypt.

Kerry Pither, a human rights activist and author of Dark Days: The Story of Four Canadians Tortured in the Name of Fighting Terror, said no Canadian official had been charged, disciplined or demoted for misconduct in the cases of Maher Arar, Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El-Maati and Muayyed Nureddin.

Two federal inquiries have found that faulty Canadian intelligence played a significant role in what befell the men in Syria.

"There is a culture of impunity in this country that is very troubling," Ms. Pither said. "The fact is that most of the officials who were in place and who carried out the deficient action that led to the torture of these Canadian citizens, most of these officials are still in place and many have been promoted, and they're still doing this work."