Mohamed Harkat

Mohamed Harkat is currently facing deportation to Algeria, a country he fled in 1995 due to government persecution. If deported, Harkat fears he will be tortured.

In the name of security

Harkat was granted refugee status in 1997, but on December 10,, 2002 he was arrested outside his home in Ottawa. Harkat had not broken the law, but he was issued a security certificate by the government through a request by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). Security certificates allow the government to deport any refugee or permanent citizen suspected of being a threat to national security. Through this system, suspects can be detained indefinitely. What constitutes "national security" isn't defined. The process is loosely reviewed by federal courts, but the subject of a security certificate isn't told what evidence is against them. The judge may review it in secret and vaguely summarize the accusations, but there is never a fair trial where a defendant can review and make a case to counter the evidence against them. The judge only has to find the evidence "reasonable" to uphold the security certificate. The excuse for all the secrecy remains a "matter of national security".

The cost

Harkat was taken to prison and held for a year in solitary confinement. He was released on bail on June 21, 2006 with the strictest conditions in Canadian history. Not only was he under house arrest but was forced to wear an electronic device along with being under 24 hour supervision of his wife. He and his wife have not been able to live their lives freely, work, or travel.


Insult to Injustice

In 2007 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that security certificates violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Instead of scrapping the legislation entirely, the Harper government tweaked the system to include "special advocates", government appointed agents who must consult with the same judge who upheld the certificate to talk to the detainee. The "advocates" have been criticized as paying lip service to make an injustice process seem different. Harkat's security certificate, stuck down by the 2007 ruling was re-instated in 2008. Nine years after his arrest, Harkat faces many of the same challenges.

Act now!

Sign the petition against security certificates

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