Charkaoui settles back into a life of freedom

Posted by admin on Sep 26th, 2009

By SUE MONTGOMERY, The Gazette, September 26, 2009

Adil Charkaoui’s first night of freedom was peaceful, until his 6-year-old son woke up crying. After four years of sleeping with the base of his father’s global tracking system in his room, Abdallah suddenly felt lost without the glowing light that emanated from the black machine the size of a toaster. Charkaoui, too, felt a bit “naked” on his first day after Federal Court Judge Danielle Tremblay-Lamer quashed the security certificate under which the schoolteacher has been living for six years – and its accompanying bail conditions, including an electronic ankle bracelet that tracked his every move.

After cutting off the bracelet with a large pair of scissors, Charkaoui was able to go to bed Thursday night barefoot, instead of wearing a sock to ease the uncomfortable feeling of the metal and plastic against his skin.

“I keep looking for my GPS all the time,” he said yesterday in a telephone interview.

“It’s like when you forget your cellphone and you reach in your pocket and it’s not there.

“This was like my baby.” Charkaoui, 36, whose ordeal began with his 2003 arrest, was also busy giving dozens of media interviews and reading hundreds of emails from well-wishers across the country and around the world.

He had plans to eat out in a restaurant with some of his supporters last night, and had already received a job offer to teach Secondary 4 and 5, as soon as his teaching certificate was reinstated. The Quebec government revoked it when he fell under suspicion of having ties to terrorists.

Charkaoui’s wife, who is expecting the couple’s fourth child next month, was happy with the news, but exasperated, he said.

“She keeps saying, ‘Stop all these interviews and talking on the phone!’ ” he said.

Tremblay-Lamer’s ruling was another blow to Canada’s security certificate process – a rarely used tool under immigration law that allows authorities to arrest non-citizens and detain them indefinitely without charge.

If a Federal Court judge deems the certificate reasonable, the suspect can be deported.

The process has been criticized because it’s highly secretive; not even the suspect or his lawyer can see the evidence against him.

But Charkaoui’s certificate never got to the “reasonableness” stage; the federal government withdrew the evidence it had against him after Tremblay-Lamer ordered them to reveal it.

Government lawyers say it will appeal that order, but Tremblay-Lamer has to give them permission to do so.

Charkaoui’s lawyers accused the government of lying to defence lawyers and to the court about how they obtained evidence against the Moroccan-born permanent resident.

Many of the statements came from detainees who were tortured, his lawyer, Johanne Doyon, argued.

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