Harkat won’t have to return to prison

Posted by admin on Jul 14th, 2006

Harkat won’t have to return to prison, rules court. CTV.ca News Staff

Mohamed Harkat will not be returning to prison. Lawyers for the federal government failed to convince a court Thursday that accused terrorist Mohamed Harkat’s bail should be revoked.

The Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the government’s appeal of Harkat’s release on bail, but the court ruled his bail conditions can be reviewed. The lawyers argued that Harkat posed a great threat to national security and should be returned to a special holding cell for suspected terrorists.

On June 21, Harkat returned to his Ottawa-area home after a Federal Court judge granted him strict bail conditions, citing “unexplained delays” in the case. Harkat had been held in jail on a controversial security certificate for more than three years over allegations that he has ties
to al Qaeda. In an attempt to overturn the bail decision, the government lawyers argued that the court-ordered GPS tracking bracelet would not work in tunnels or parking lots. They said this would provide an opportunity
for al Qaeda communications.

The three-judge panel, however, dismissed this argument asking why the lawyers had not brought up this issue during bail hearing. The lawyers went on to cite national security concerns, saying that Harkat should be deported from the country. After the government lawyers presented their
case, the panel did not ask Harkat’s lawyers to respond.

In her May ruling, Federal Court Judge Eleanor Dawson ruled that Harkat was eligible for bail based on the following strict conditions:
* required to wear an electronic monitoring device
* under virtual house arrest most of the time
* must give up his travel documents
* may not converse in Arabic

Harkat is one of five Muslim men being held on controversial security certificates issued under federal immigration law. On Monday, he said he fears being tortured or killed if he is sent back to his native Algeria.

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