Security Certificates vs Human Rights

The first time I heard about Security Certificates was when a young woman stood up at the anti Bill C-51 Rally at Kitchener City Hall to talk about The Secret Trial Five documentary.

I didn’t really understand what the young woman who spoke was talking about, so I went to see the documentary.  And I was aghast.  Still am, in fact.

Adil Charkaoui and Hassan Almrei are the two Secret Trial 5 victims who have finally been released from this ordeal.

Canada’s pre-9/11 Security Certificate system was designed to give authorities the ability to quickly deport suspected terrorists.  The problem is that it does this without anything resembling legal process.   And at the end of the day, Canada can’t deport anyone to torture without breaking International Law or violating the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Canada prides itself on being a “rule of law” country.

The Rule of Law: Common Definitions
1. a government bound by and ruled by law;
2. equality before the law;
3. the establishment of law and order;
4. the efficient and predictable application of justice; and
5. the protection of human rights.

Rachel Kleinfeld Belton

How can secret trials even happen under a rule of law?

One of the legal protections Canadians hold dear is the presumption of innocence.  It doesn’t matter if they charge us with a crime: in the eyes of the law, we are innocent until proven guilty.  But here, the accused must prove themselves innocent without even knowing what they’re accused of.

If someone accuses we want to face our accusers.  Don’t we have that right?

Even more important, we need to know what we are accused of… without knowing that, how can anyone defend themselves?

Three of the Secret Trial 5 continue to live in this legal hell which ought not be possible in any country claiming to operate under the rule of law.

Mahmoud Jaballah

Mohammad Zeki Mahjoub

Mohamed Harkat

Lillian Boctor‘s earlier documentary, “Secret Canada” dates back to 2012.  Watch the whole video here:

After nearly two decades of Canadian Government persecution, Sophie LaMarch Harkat wants the Security Certificate that could deport her husband to torture removed.

Please Sign Petition to Stop
My Husband’s Deportation to Torture

If you agree this should not be happening in Canada, please sign Sophie Harkat’s petition (above) and call or write to the government officials who have the power to change this.

You can use this handy form to send a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Goodale, with copies going to your MP, The  Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen and the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Jody Wilson-Raybould.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Phone: 613-992-4211
Fax: 613-941-6099
mailing address:
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A2

Ralph Goodale
Phone: 613-947-1153
mailing address:
House of Commons
Ottawa. ON K1A 0A6

Ahmed Hussen MP, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
mailing address:
House of Commons
Ottawa. ON K1A 0A6

Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice, Attorney General of Canada
mailing address:
House of Commons
Ottawa. ON K1A 0A6

One thought on “Security Certificates vs Human Rights

  1. Here’s my version of the letter:

    Dear Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Goodale,

    This letter is to insist on an end to deportation proceedings against the Algerian Refugee, Mohamed Harkat, who has lived in Canada for 22 years.

    It is inconceivable to me that Mr. Harkat could face deportation to Algeria under the controversial security certificate regime.

    How can Canada claim to operate under the rule of law if there are different laws for refugees and immigrants than there are for Canadian citizens? How can Canada claim to uphold the Charter if our Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship practices institutional discrimination against people of colour or the wrong religion anyone be imprisoned people brown people are secret courts and . Security certificate hearings take place in secret, which means neither he nor his lawyers have ever been allowed to confront and cross-examine his accusers.

    Today, his fate lies with you. Your government could deport him to Algeria where he will face imprisonment, torture, and possibly death, or you could allow him to stay and continue to live a peaceful life in Ottawa with his wife Sophie, his family and friends. For them, he is simply “Moe”, a loving and soft-spoken man who contributes to his community and is always ready to help those around him. Mr Harkat’s community has lived in constant fear for his safety since the Government of Canada began deportation proceedings three years ago.

    In 2002, under a problematic regime of security certificates that the Supreme Court unanimously ruled unconstitutional in 2007, Mr. Harkat was imprisoned in maximum security for 43 months. He spent years under house arrest, and was placed under some of the most severe bail conditions in Canadian history. All of this without ever having been charged with a crime. The original “evidence” against Mr. Harkat was destroyed by CSIS, and the allegations against him are based on the testimony of an informant who failed a lie detector test and was never cross-examined in court.

    On October 26, 2017, Prime Minister Trudeau clearly stated: “Nobody ever deserves to be tortured. And when a Canadian government is either complicit in that or was not active enough in preventing it, there needs to be responsibility taken.”

    The Harkats have also described how the conditions imposed on them and the harassment they have faced from Canada Border Services Agency agents amounts to “psychological torture.” This is unacceptable in a free country.

    Today, your government has an opportunity to live up to those words by ending Mr. Harkat’s ordeal, and avoid implicating your government in his torture. I urge you to abide by both Canadian law as well as Canada’s international obligations under the UN Convention Against Torture (which outlaws deportation to torture under any circumstances, without exception).

    Both the UK and Ireland have recently seen cases of deportations to Algeria being stopped because of the risk of torture. There is no reason why Canada should not follow suit. Surely we have by now learned not to throw human rights under the bus, or send anyone to torture.

    Under the law, Minister Goodale has the power to allow Mr. Harkat to stay in Canada. I, along with thousands of other people both in Canada and globally, urge you to use this power today to allow Mohamed Harkat to remain in Canada and live his life, safe from fear and torture, with his wife and community.

    Please do the right thing and uphold Mohamed Harkat’s human rights by immediately putting a stop to his deportation.


    Laurel Russwurm

    CC: My Harold Albrecht, MP
    CC: The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
    CC: The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

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