Harkat security certificate upheld

Lawyers for Algerian living in Ottawa say he'll appeal

Last Updated: Thursday, December 9, 2010 | 12:27 PM ET

Mohamed Harkat has lost his legal challenge againat a security certificate issued against him. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Mohamed Harkat will appeal a Federal Court ruling Thursday that there are reasonable grounds to believe he remains a threat to national security, the Ottawa resident's lawyers say.

Harkat, who was born in Algeria, has been living under virtual house since 2002 under a security certificate.

Thursday's ruling by Justice Simon Noel opens the door for the deportation of Harkat, who was arrested after Canada's spy agency, CSIS, alleged he was a sleeper agent for al-Qaeda.

The 42-year-old former pizza delivery man and gas station attendant has maintained his innocence, saying he fled his native Algeria and worked as an aid worker in Pakistan before coming to Canada in 1995 as a refugee using a fake Saudi passport.

He has been living in Ottawa with his wife, Sophie.

Noel said Harkat's links to the Ibn Khattab terror group for whom he operated a guesthouse while in Pakistan and his association with Islamic extremists provided reasonable grounds to believe he engaged in terrorism activities. Noel also said Harkat was "not truthful, honest or transparent."

"The court concludes that, while in Canada, Mohamed Harkat maintained contacts and assisted Islamist extremists, and used some methodologies typical of a 'sleeper agent,'" he said in a written ruling.

Held without trial

Harkat's trial had many twists and turns over the past eight years.

He was released on bail in 2006 after being held without trial under a national security certificate. A second certificate was issued against him in 2008.

He won a partial victory last year when Noel loosened the restrictions on his house arrest, though he still had to wear a GPS monitor, report in weekly to authorities and travel unsupervised only in the Ottawa area. His passport also remained in trust with federal agents.

A separate decision also upholds the constitutionality of the national security certificate system the government is using to remove Harkat from Canada.

Security certificates allow the Canadian government to detain and deport permanent residents or foreign nationals considered to be a security threat without revealing all the evidence to the accused.



Commentary by the OttawaMensCentre.com


It would be nice to be able to congratulate CSIS without having to doubt the opinion of the judge. Judicial decisions in Ontario are riddled with corrupt judges who make politically correct decisions for their friends however, those decisions generally contain the tel-tale contradictions between facts and conclusions.

After reading this particular decision, the opening paragraphs show a totally unnecessary flowery language that sounds like its coming from North Korea or the Taliban.

Once you get past that unfortunate choice of words, the decision is damning for Harkat and unfortunately extremely disappointing news for his spouse and everyone else who has supported him to date.

The most disturbing element in the decision is that Harkat while choosing to deny anything and everything that might get him booted from Canada did however agree to the truth of what CSIS says he said which is basically an admission of the substantive facts alleged by CSIS as to why he is a terrorist.

The only problem is, the evidence of CSIS, is entirely secret, unvetted that makes

Harkat just another illegal immigrant with a refugee claim.

Now lets see what happens with the appeal.