Feds ordered to share evidence with defence in Harkat security case

Posted by admin on Sep 24th, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008 CBC News

All intelligence and information related to the case of an Ottawa man arrested in 2002 on a security certificate must be released by the federal government to his lawyers, a Federal Court judge has ruled. Canadian Security and Intelligence Service drafts, diagrams, recordings, photographs and other evidence concerning the bid to deport Algerian refugee Mohamed Harkat are covered by the ruling released by Judge Simon Noël on Wednesday.

In his order, Noël cited a Supreme Court of Canada decision earlier this year on evidence disclosure requirements in the case of another man living under a security certificate, Adil Charkaoui.

The ruling does not mean the evidence will be made public and it may be up to six months before Harkat’s lawyers obtain all the material.

Harkat has been living under a security certificate since his arrest in December 2002, and the government has been seeking his deportation.

CSIS accused him of being an al-Qaeda “sleeper agent” and alleged that Harkat trained under Osama bin Laden’s top lieutenants in Afghanistan.

Harkat has denied the allegations.

Harkat spent 3½ years in a detention centre but was subsequently released on strict bail conditions.

Security certificates are a contentious tool the government can use to detain non-citizens pending deportation proceedings. When the detained person faces deportation to a country where there is evidence they will be tortured, their removal from Canada generally cannot proceed, leaving them in the limbo of a possibly indefinite imprisonment, critics argue.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the security certificate process was unconstitutional, and it gave the federal government a year to remedy the law.

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