News from ICLMG

External Review Into Case of Hassan Diab Falls Far Short

The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group has sent an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressing its concern and disappointment that the government has initiated an “external review” into the extradition and imprisonment in France, without charge, of Dr. Hassan Diab, a Canadian citizen.

Instead, what is needed is an independent, public inquiry into Dr. Diab’s extradition and the failings of Canada’s extradition laws. This has been the request of Dr. Diab and his supporters from the beginning, and has been echoed by pre-eminent legal experts, parliamentarians of all political backgrounds, and by human rights and civil liberties organizations.

The ICLMG joined these calls for a public inquiry in a letter sent to the Prime Minister on May 7th, 2018.

Read the full-text of the letter below (or download the PDF here).

TAKE ACTION:

  • Join the call for a public inquiry by singing the parliamentary e-petition online here.
  • Part of an organization? Ask them to send a letter of support for a public, independent inquiry to Prime Minister Trudeau at pm@pm.gc.ca
  • For more information and to get involved, visit http://www.justiceforhassandiab.org/

 

August 1, 2018

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

I am writing you on behalf of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group in follow-up to our letter of May 7, 2018, calling on your government to initiate a public, independent inquiry into the case of Dr. Hassan Diab and overarching concerns with the failings of Canada’s extradition laws.

We were dismayed to learn that your government has decided to pursue the course of an external review, rather than a full, public inquiry.

While we do not doubt the integrity of the appointed reviewer, Murray Segal, it is clear to us that the terms of reference for the review do not include the powers or scope necessary to investigate and address the complex and deep-rooted issues at play in Dr. Diab’s case.

We would urge you to instead proceed with a public, independent inquiry. Such a decision would not only resolve many of the problems of power and scope, but would also send a clear message to Dr. Diab, his family and the public that your government is committed to ensuring that an ordeal like Dr. Diab’s is never allowed to re-occur.

Anything less will fall short of the clear need for answers, repercussions and reforms in the wake of Dr. Diab’s decade-long ordeal.

Our concerns with the current review process include:

  • The review will not cover France’s actions in the lead up to Dr. Diab’s committal for extradition. France’s actions before and during Dr. Diab’s extradition hearings are of grave concern. It will be impossible to fully understand, rectify and prevent future occurrences if these actions are omitted from investigation.
  • The review does not include an examination of the shortcomings in Canada’s Extradition Act. This step is fundamental to ensuring justice and a fair process in the future and to prevent similar injustices being perpetrated against other Canadians.
  • The reviewer’s access to documents and evidence in Canada’s possession is subject to undue limitations, including constraints from vague “international relations obligations.” We are concerned this could mean obtaining permission from France for the release of certain documents, a clear conflict. The vagueness also raises concerns, more generally, over which documents and information will be available to the reviewer.
  • The review process lacks the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses under oath, hindering the reviewer’s work.
  • The terms of reference do not require the result of the review to be made public. It is of utmost importance that the full findings of this inquiry be made public in order to identify urgent changes needed to Canada’s extradition law, and steps needed to implement them. A public accounting is also vital to ensuring that justice is achieved for Dr. Diab.

Finally, we wish to express our support for Dr. Diab’s principled decision to boycott the current review. We agree with his assessment that the current external review amounts to damage control, and will not be able to fully address the root causes of Dr. Diab’s case.

While what Dr. Diab has faced over the past decade cannot be undone, he and the public deserve full answers as to how it was allowed to occur, and action to ensure that it cannot occur again. Only a public inquiry will be able to achieve this. We request that you act accordingly, and without delay.

Sincerely,

Tim McSorley
National Coordinator
International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group

Letter to PM Trudeau and Minister Goodale: Stop the deportation to torture of Mohamed Harkat

Today is the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. We have sent this letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and the Ministers of Public Safety, Justice and Immigration to urge them to stop the deportation to torture of Mohamed Harkat. 

Take action!

Join us by sending your own letter – feel free to use ours as a template – to prevent the addition of Moe’s name to the long list of victims of torture. Here are their email addresses: pm@pm.gc.ca, justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca, ralph.goodale@parl.gc.ca, jody.Wilson-Raybould@parl.gc.ca, ahmed.Hussen@parl.gc.ca. Thank you!


Ottawa, June 26, 2018

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister and Privy Council
80 Wellington St, Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A2

The Honourable Ralph Goodale
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Stop the deportation to torture of Mohamed Harkat

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Goodale,

I am writing you in my capacity as the National Coordinator of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group. The ICLMG is the only national coalition of Canadian civil society organizations that has the mandate to defend civil liberties and human rights from the negative impact of the fight against terrorism in Canada. The coalition, founded in 2002, brings together 45 national NGOs, unions, professional associations, faith groups, environmental organizations, human rights and civil liberties advocates, as well as groups representing immigrant and refugee communities in Canada.

Today, June 26th, marks the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. We write to you to ensure that your actions, or rather inaction, will not lead to the addition of  Mohamed Harkat’s name to the long list of victims of torture.

Mohamed Harkat, a United Nations Convention refugee who has lived in Canada for 22 years, faces deportation to Algeria under a security certificate.

Today, his fate lies with you. He could be deported to torture and face a likely death, or he could be granted the status to continue to live a peaceful life in Ottawa with his wife Sophie Lamarche Harkat, and his family and friends. For them, he is simply “Moe”, a loving and soft-spoken man who is always ready to help those around him. They have been living in constant fear since deportation proceedings began three years ago.

The ICLMG has closely followed the case of Mohamed Harkat since it came to the public eye in 2002. Under the very problematic regime of security certificates, Mr. Harkat was imprisoned in maximum security for 43 months, spent years under house arrest, and was imposed some of the most severe bail conditions in Canadian history. And that is without ever having been charged with, let alone convicted of a crime. The original “evidence” against Mr Harkat was destroyed and the allegations are based on the testimony of an informant who failed a lie detector test and was never cross-examined in court.

We have also followed the four other cases of security certificates and we continue to denounce the secrecy surrounding them, the lack of due process, the indefinite detention of the suspects, the violation of the solicitor-client privilege, and the continuous abuse of human rights involved at all levels.

In 2008, we testified at the Senate Special Committee on Anti-Terrorism regarding the security certificate regime. Our position was and still is that “the only way to meet the requirements guaranteed by the Charter and International covenants, and in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice, is through prosecutions under the Criminal code.”

Today, as we have done for the last 15 years, we keep denouncing the highly problematic use of intelligence in these cases and the lack of access to the “evidence” against the suspects, which makes it impossible for them to mount a defense.

On October 26, 2017, Prime Minister Trudeau clearly stated: “I hope people remember to demand of governments, this one and all future governments, that nobody ever has their fundamental rights violated either through inaction or deliberate action by Canadian governments. 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.”

We are thus reminding you today to enforce Canada’s international obligations under the UN Convention against Torture, uphold Mohamed Harkat’s rights, and stop his deportation order to torture right now. We don’t want one of Prime Minister Trudeau’s successors to have to apologize and pay millions of Canadian taxpayers’ dollars for this ongoing human rights abuse years from now.

Furthermore, under an opening in the law governing security certificates, section 42.1 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, Minister Goodale has the power to decide that allowing Mr. Harkat to stay in Canada is not contrary to the national interest. The courts have consistently relaxed Mr. Harkat’s bail conditions over the years, and CSIS has not even bothered to file a risk assessment in his last bail hearing in the fall of 2017. As his work colleagues and thousands of supporters have asserted, and as court assessments and psychiatrists have attested to, letting Mr. Harkat stay would not be contrary to Canadians’ interest. Moreover, not deporting a man to torture and likely death is clearly in Canada’s national interest.

Consequently, we urge Minister Goodale to use this unique position and the discretion afforded under the law to exempt Mohamed Harkat from deportation, end 16 years of psychological torture and harassment by CBSA agents that has had a huge documented toll on Mr. Harkat’s health — including chronically low appetite and concentration, recurrent nightmares, chronic depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder — as well as on Mrs. Harkat’s health, and let him stay and live with his wife and community in Canada.

Such a decision to end these deportation to torture proceedings would be wholly consistent with England’s Special Immigration Appeals Commission, which settled this issue in 2016 when it ordered Theresa May to stop deporting Algerian nationals at risk of torture, as well as with the Irish Supreme Court, which last July blocked a deportation to Algeria because of the real risk of torture.

If you would like more information in order to make this decision, we urge you to meet with Mohamed and Sophie Harkat, Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada and/or myself. We can arrange such a meeting at your earliest convenience.

We would appreciate a response to our letter as soon as possible.

Thank you,

Tim McSorley
National Coordinator
International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group

Cc: The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

PDF of the letter

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. Here at ICLMG, we are working very hard to protect and promote human rights and civil liberties in the context of the so-called “war on terror” in Canada. We do not receive any financial support from any federal, provincial or municipal governments or political parties.

You can become our patron on Patreon and get rewards in exchange for your support. You can give as little as $1/month (that’s only $12/year!) and you can unsubscribe at any time. Any donations will go a long way to support our work.panel-54141172-image-6fa93d06d6081076-320-320You can also make a one-time donation or donate monthly via Paypal by clicking on the button below. On the fence about giving? Check out our Achievements and Gains since we were created in 2002. Thank you for your generosity!
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Government fails to protect rights as it rushes national security bill through second-reading

The Liberal government has once again ignored important calls to amend its new national security bill, placing fundamental rights and freedoms in Canada and internationally at risk.

Bill C-59, the National Security Act, 2017, was rushed through a second-reading vote this week, with governing Liberal MPs voting as a block to approve it without any further amendments, despite calls from civil society and opposition MPs to take action.

“So-called ‘national security concerns’ cannot come at the cost of privacy, free expression, due process and government transparency,” said Tim McSorley, national coordinator of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group. “Once again, despite promises of openness, the government has avoided fixing the most egregious aspects of this bill.”

The Liberals have touted Bill C-59 as being a “fix” for the previous government’s controversial Bill C-51 (the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015). While it brings some improvements, and saw some changes at committee, Bill C-59:

  • Continues to allow CSIS to engage in secret threat disruption powers
  • Maintains the secretive No Fly List, which violates due process and has never been proven to be effective
  • Grants sweeping new surveillance powers to both the CSE and CSIS, including the collection of vaguely defined “publicly available information”
  • Will allow the CSE to engage in broad and powerful new “active cyber operations” with little oversight

The government has also avoided improving on the strongest part of the bill: new national security review and oversight bodies. For example, while it is a positive that the new National Security and Intelligence Review Agency will have the power to review all national security activities, it will only have nine members and no binding recommendation powers, likely hindering its effectiveness.

Even if review and oversight were improved, though, it still would not make up for bad laws, warns the ICLMG. “The NSIRA and the Intelligence Commissioner will only be able to enforce the rules set out in Bill C-59. With the current weak levels of authorization and secretive processes, these agencies risk becoming rubber stamps for a system that is broken from the start,” said McSorley. “If the government is truly committed to avoiding more cases like that of Maher Arar, or the recent ODAC debacle at CSIS, they need to take action before Bill C-59 is passed.”

– 30 –

Contact:

Tim McSorley
National Coordinator, ICLMG
613-241-5298

About the ICLMG:

The ICLMG is a national coalition of Canadian civil society organizations that was established in the aftermath of the September, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States. The coalition brings together some 43 NGOs, unions, professional associations, faith groups, environmental organizations, human rights and civil liberties advocates, as well as groups representing immigrant and refugee communities in Canada. In the context of the so-called ‘war on terror’, the mandate of the ICLMG is to defend the civil liberties and human rights set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, federal and provincial laws, and international human rights instruments.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. Here at ICLMG, we are working very hard to protect and promote human rights and civil liberties in the context of the so-called “war on terror” in Canada. We do not receive any financial support from any federal, provincial or municipal governments or political parties.

You can become our patron on Patreon and get rewards in exchange for your support. You can give as little as $1/month (that’s only $12/year!) and you can unsubscribe at any time. Any donations will go a long way to support our work.panel-54141172-image-6fa93d06d6081076-320-320You can also make a one-time donation or donate monthly via Paypal by clicking on the button below. On the fence about giving? Check out our Achievements and Gains since we were created in 2002. Thank you for your generosity!
make-a-donation-button

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