rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Mohamed Harkat faces secret Supreme Court hearing October 11

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca in its summer fundraiser today for as little as $1 per month!

Supreme Court of Canada. Photo: Mike Alexander/flickr

Mohamed Harkat, arrested on International Human Rights Day, December 10, 2002 on a security certificate, is still fighting the Canadian government's secret case and potential deportation to torture in Algeria.

His case is being heard in public on October 10 and then, in a dangerous precedent, the Supreme Court will retire to conduct a secret hearing at an undisclosed secure Ottawa location on Friday, Oct. 11.

Harkat has faced over a decade of secret hearings held by the Federal Court of Canada. Matthew Behrens, rabble's national security columnist, reported on Harkat's upcoming hearing in a recent column, which scrutinizes the process of secret trials in Canada and the increasing trend toward secrecy:

"The secret trials regimen was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2007 in the seminal Charkaoui decision, in which the court asked, plainly, how one meets a case one does not know. On October 11, Mr. Harkat will be no closer to knowing the case he has to meet. His partially public hearing will be held on October 10.

It says something about the degraded system of Canadian justice that the nine individuals who have the ultimate legal say when it comes to fundamental issues such as due process and rule of law will be sitting in secret session, adding to the growth of a parallel secret judicial system that is bound to grow and flourish along with other trends toward secrecy in Canadian government."

Behrens will join a collection of Ottawa-area writers and performers on the evening of October 10 to read a staged adaptation of Kafka's The Trial in conjunction with Harkat's Supreme Court challenge.

"We read Kafka to understand how easily our nightmares become the life we create for ourselves, and for others," said participating writer Alan Cumyn. "The Trial is a wake-up call, sadly never out of date, not even in Canada, not even now."

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.