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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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MPs and Senators: Fix Bill C-59!

READ THE FULL JOINT STATEMENT ON BILL C-59

 

 

 

Resources against Islamophobia

January 29, 2018 marked the one-year anniversary of the attack on the Quebec City mosque that killed 6 men and wounded 19. ICLMG is committed to combatting Islamophobia as it is both a cause and a consequence of the racist foundations and applications of national security.

Despite many hateful incidents reported in the media in the last year, and the obviously islamophobic character of the January 29, 2017 massacre, many people seem to think that Islamophobia is not real, and that the word was created recently to stifle free speech and criticism of Islam.

We know that this is not the case and that this belief is an attempt to divert attention from the very real islamophobic attacks on Muslims. Others might be aware that Islamophobia is real, alive and kicking but be unsure how to combat it. Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of resources that may help you better understand and/or show others what Islamophobia is, and how to fight it. Feel free to use and share them widely!

NOOR CULTURAL CENTER 2017 BRIEF ON ISLAMOPHOBIA IN CANADA

This brief was submitted by the Noor Cultural Centre to the parliamentary Heritage Committee, for its Motion M103 hearings on Islamophobia in Canada. The ICLMG has endorsed this brief. I highly suggest you read it and share it widely. http://www.noorculturalcentre.ca/?p=16629

TRAINING AND WORKSHOPS

National Council of Canadian Muslims’ trainings: https://www.nccm.ca/connect/training/

A few slides from the workshop on Islamophobia given by Rana Nazzal during OPIRG Carleton’s 2017 Tools for Change Symposium:

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WEBSITES

Monia’s blog, columns and books – follow her on Twitter @MoniaMazigh: https://moniamazigh.wordpress.com

NCCM’s map of anti-Muslim incidents in Canada: https://www.nccm.ca/map/

Fear Inc. Explore the $57 million network fueling Islamophobia in the United States: https://islamophobianetwork.com

Network against Islamophobia: https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/network-against-islamophobia/

ARTICLES

2018 Survey on Islamophobia in Canada: http://www.cjpme.org/islamophobia

All Muslims are often blamed for single acts of terror. Psychology explains how to stop it. https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/11/30/16645024/collective-blame-psychology-muslim

When people ask you why Muslims don’t denounce terrorism, show them this: The 712-page Google doc that proves Muslims do condemn terrorism: https://www.theguardian.com/world/shortcuts/2017/mar/26/muslims-condemn-terrorism-stats

Islamophobia: The Right Word for a Real Problem: http://bridge.georgetown.edu/islamophobia-the-right-word-for-a-real-problem/

A Non-Muslim Guide to Standing up to Islamophobia: http://muslimgirl.com/36100/heres-non-muslim-guide-standing-islamophobia/

Always Already Suspicious: The Inherent Racism of National Security in Canada, une présentation d’Azeezah Kanji: iclmg.ca/always-already-suspicious-the-inherent-racism-of-national-security-a-talk-by-azeezah-kanji

PEOPLE AND PAGES TO FOLLOW ON FACEBOOK & TWITTER

National Council of Canadian Muslims: https://www.facebook.com/NCCMuslims/ & https://twitter.com/nccm

Linda Sarsour: https://www.facebook.com/lsarsour/  & https://twitter.com/lsarsour

Dalia Mogahed: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507181698

Middle Eastern Feminist: https://www.facebook.com/themiddleeasternfeminist/

Muslim Girl: https://www.facebook.com/muslimgirlarmy/

The Secret Life of Muslims: https://www.facebook.com/SecretlifeofMuslims/

Muslim Lives Matter: https://www.facebook.com/muslimlivesmatter/

Coalition Against White Supremacy & Islamophobia (CAWSI): https://www.facebook.com/groups/1792848744374213/

Collectif Canadien Anti-Islamophobie: https://www.facebook.com/Collectif.Canadien.Anti.Islamophobie/

Association des Musulmans et des Arabes pour la Laïcité au Québec: https://www.facebook.com/AMALQuebec/

BOOKS

Arun Kundnani, The Muslims are coming: Islamophobia, Extremism and the Domestic War on Terror, 2015

Deepa Kumar, Islamophobia and The Politics of Empire, 2012

Nathan Lean, The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims, 2012

VIDEOS

Our panel on National Security & Islamophobia in Canada with author and activist Monia Mazigh and lawyer Yavar Hameed:

Islam, the Quran, and the Five Pillars All Without a Flamewar: Crash Course World History #13:

Islam and Politics: Crash Course World History 216:

Emotional speech by Muslim woman on Islamophobia in Canadian parliament:

What do you think when you look at me? | Dalia Mogahed :

Extreme(ly queer) Muslims series:

Islamophobin, a gum to cure anti-Muslim bigotry!

7 Questions British Muslims Are Tired of Hearing:

Things Not To Say To Someone Who Wears A Burqa:

Some of the Best Responses to Islamophobia in 2016:

Documentary Reel Bad Arabs, How Hollywood Vilifies a People:

Other TedTalk on Islamophobia:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ted+talk+islamophobia

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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