Related rabble.ca story:
Montreal, 3 February 2011 -- A community dinner in Montreal in support of Mohamed Harkat, who is engaged in an eight-year battle against deportation to torture on the basis of secret accusations, will have to go ahead without its guest of honour. Harkat learned late last week that the Canadian Border Services Agency refused his request to attend the dinner, organized as the closing event of a Montreal conference on national security.
CBSA, which is in charge of enforcing the strict bail conditions imposed on Harkat, stated that he could not attend because of the "the nature of the proposed event, its anticipated participants, as well as its venue." The event, a free vegetarian dinner, will take place at Concordia University.
It was ironic that on International Human Rights Day, Dec. 10, family, friends, and supporters of secret trial detainee Mohamed Harkat gathered with him and his wife, Sophie, to weep and reflect on three federal court decisions against him. The latest decision upheld the regime of secret hearings and judicially sanctioned rendition to torture; and Harkat's supporter's recommitted to ending what domestic and international critics have labelled a star chamber process.
Due to a system based on secret allegations that neither accused nor lawyers can contest, Harkat has, for eight years, been subject to a "security certificate," a measure by which individuals can be detained, held indefinitely without charge, and ultimately be deported, despite the risk of torture.
TORONTO, May 11, 2010 - In yet another blow aimed at the morale of the beleaguered family of secret security certificate trial detainee Mahmoud Jaballah, three carloads of agents from the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA), assisted by Metro Toronto Police, conducted a raid on the Jaballah family residence on April 14 on the pretext of looking for the two youngest boys' clear plastic toy guns, commonly played with by children across Canada and readily accessible at most Walmarts, Canadian Tires, and dollar stores.
Apparently, agents who conduct 24/7 wiretaps of the family phone learned about the toy guns while listening in on the children's telephone conversations, and immediately sprung into action in the name of Canada's national security.
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Most couples sitting in courtrooms are there for separation and divorce proceedings. Not so Sophie and Mohamed (Moe) Harkat, who have spent years in court because they desperately wish to stay together. The Ottawa couple have spent the past decade resisting with all their might the attempt to make their marriage a threesome by a secretive party who, in a manner that most relationship counsellors would mark as a major red flag moment, refuses to be open and honest, all the while it questions the authenticity of the Harkats' love for one another.
The ease with which self-described democratic states embroil themselves in torture continues to be illustrated by the manner in which agencies of the Canadian state, from spies to judges, have wedged open a door to legitimize complicity in a practice that both domestic and international law ban outright.
It's been more than a month, but Canadians in general have been able to go about their daily business despite the United Nations declaration that the federal government is complicit in torture. July 1st flag-wavers didn't have their spirits dampened by the findings that, apart from a few headlines, fell victim to the vagaries of the 24-7 news cycle.