US embassy cable - 07TORONTO118

HOUSE ARREST FOR SECURITY CERTIFICATE DETAINEES

Identifier: 07TORONTO118
Wikileaks: View 07TORONTO118 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Consulate Toronto
Created: 2007-03-16 20:02:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Tags: PGOV PHUM PTER CA
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
VZCZCXRO8083
RR RUEHGA RUEHHA RUEHQU RUEHVC
DE RUEHON #0118/01 0752002
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 162002Z MAR 07
FM AMCONSUL TORONTO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1898
INFO RUCNCAN/ALCAN COLLECTIVE
RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHDC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TORONTO 000118 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O.12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, PTER, CA 
SUBJECT: HOUSE ARREST FOR SECURITY CERTIFICATE DETAINEES 
 
Sensitive But Unclassified - protect accordingly. 
 
1. (SBU) SUMMARY:  As a result of Canada's Supreme Court having 
struck down Canada's security certificate program on February 23, 
two men who are currently alleged to be security threats have been 
or will be released from custody and join other released detainees 
on house arrest.  These men will be closely monitored but out of 
custody as the GOC struggles to revise a security certificate system 
that was used 28 times since 1978 to deal with particularly 
dangerous foreigners in Canada.  The future of the security 
certificate system will be a matter of continuing interest as Canada 
seeks to balance security, and the protection of confidential 
information, with Charter rights.  END SUMMARY 
 
History of Security Certificates 
-------------------------------- 
 
2. (SBU) Security certificates in Canada have been used since 1978 
to detain and/or deport non-Canadians deemed to be security threats. 
 Created in 1978's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, only 28 
security certificates have been issued.  All but six of these 
certificates were issued before 9/11. 
 
3. (SBU) The security certificates had to be signed by the Minister 
of Citizenship and Immigration and the Minister of Public Safety and 
Emergency Preparedness, after which they had to be endorsed by a 
federal court judge.  The application for a certificate caused the 
suspension of all immigration proceedings until the judge ruled on 
the certificate request in a closed-door hearing.  Non-resident 
foreign nationals subject to a certificate would be automatically 
detained, and permanent resident foreign nationals could be detained 
on a case-by-case basis.  If the federal court ruled that the 
certificate was reasonable, the person would be ordered deported; 
however, should the subjects of approved security certificates 
refuse to leave Canada, they frequently faced long-term detention 
until their cases were resolved.  If the court found that the 
certificate was unreasonable, it was quashed and the person was 
released.  Detainees had no right to hear the evidence against them, 
but received a summary of the allegations. 
 
4. (SBU) On February 23 Canada's Supreme Court unanimously struck 
down the security certificate system, ruling that it violated 
Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Specifically, the Court 
said, the security certificate system violated section 7 of the 
Charter, which guarantees that the state will respect principles of 
fundamental justice when it restricts a person's liberty or 
security.  The court said that the detainees were entitled to know 
the case against them, to have the chance to answer allegations, and 
to have a fair hearing before an impartial judge.  However, the 
court recognized the need to protect confidential information, and 
recommended a system like Great Britain's in which "special counsel" 
is appointed to represent detainee rights.    The Court gave 
Parliament one year to write a new law, after which all current 
detainees' certificates would expire and they would be free to go. 
 
5. (SBU) Even before the security certificate system was struck 
down, Canadian courts were releasing detainees from custody into 
house arrest.  Media reports on the security certificates have 
focused on five men--the so-called "Secret Trial Five."  Of the 
five, three have already been released, while a fourth will be 
released soon. 
 
The Detainees 
------------- 
 
6. (SBU) Adil Charkaoui is a 33 year old native of Morocco.  A 
former university student, karate instructor, and pizzeria worker, 
Charkaoui was arrested in 2005 in Montreal, accused of membership in 
the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group.  Authorities claim that Ahmed 
Ressam, the would-be Millennium Bomber arrested in 1999 entering 
Washington State from British Columbia, recognized Charkaoui from an 
al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan.  Charkaoui was released from 
custody in 2005 and is under house arrest in Montreal. 
 
7. (SBU) Mohamed Harkat is a 37 year old native of Algeria.  The 
former pizza delivery man has acknowledged that he once belonged to 
the Islamic Salvation Front (ISF) in Algeria, an organization that 
Algeria has subsequently outlawed.  Authorities also accuse Harkat 
of supporting the Armed Islamic Group, a violent offshoot of the 
ISF.  Authorities further accuse Harkat of being an al-Qaeda sleeper 
agent and the former operator of a safe house in Pakistan for 
extremists traveling to Chechnya.  Harkat was released from custody 
in 2006; he remains under house arrest in Ottawa. 
 
8. (SBU) Hassan Almrei is a 32 year old native of Syria. 
Authorities accuse Almrei of attending al-Qaeda camps in Pakistan 
and Afghanistan and supporting Islamic extremists in Tajikistan. 
Almrei is still in custody, and there are 
no public plans to release him. 
 
 
TORONTO 00000118  002 OF 002 
 
 
9. (SBU) Mahmoud Jaballah is a 44 year old native of Egypt. 
Jaballah is the former principal of a Toronto Islamic School. 
Authorities accuse him of membership in Egyptian Islamic Jihad.  He 
admits that he casually knew Ahmed Saaed Khadr, a Canadian citizen 
and Osama bin Ladin lieutenant.  Jaballah was arrested in 1999 on a 
security certificate, but was released when that certificate was 
quashed.  He was re-arrested in 2001 on another certificate. 
Jaballah will be released on bail soon and is expected to live in 
Scarborough, a Toronto suburb.  A Canadian judge has ruled that 
Jaballah cannot be deported to Egypt because he allegedly faces the 
threat of torture there. 
 
10. (SBU) Mohammad Mahjoub is a 46 year old native of Egypt. 
Authorities accuse Mahjoub of belonging to Vanguard of Conquest, an 
Egyptian group linked to al-Qaeda.  Mahjoub admits that he worked in 
Sudan on a farm owned by bin Ladin.  He also admits that he knows 
Ahmed Saad Khadr.  He was arrested in 2000, but was released on bail 
in February 2007.  He currently is under house arrest at his home in 
Toronto.  A Canadian judge has ruled that Ottawa must review 
Mahjoub's risk of being tortured if he were to be deported to Egypt. 
 
 
11. (SBU) In addition to the "Secret Trial Five," a sixth detainee 
is being held on charges unrelated to al-Qaeda.  Manickavasagam 
Suresh is a 55 year old native of Sri Lanka.  He was arrested in 
1995 on allegations he was raising funds for the Tamil Tigers. 
Suresh has been released on bail and lives in the Toronto area. 
 
House Arrest 
------------ 
 
12. (SBU) Harkat and Charkaoui were released to house arrest by 
lower courts after challenging their detention.  Mahjoub was 
released and placed on house arrest after the Supreme Court's 
February decision.  The terms of their house arrest include 
restrictions regarding with whom they can associate, monitoring of 
their phone calls, and limitations on when they can leave home. 
They must also clear all their visitors with the Canada Border 
Services Agency and not use the Internet.  They are reportedly 
tailed by police when they leave the house.  According to media 
reports, Harkat complains that the terms of his house arrest are 
making it difficult for him to visit with friends and relatives and 
go to doctor's appointments. 
 
13. (SBU) COMMENT:  Canada's security certificate system was a 
rarely-used but potentially valuable tool Canadian federal law 
enforcement officials could employ to combat security threats. 
Canada must now weigh security and the protection of confidential 
information against Charter rights as it contemplates rewriting the 
security certificate law.  END COMMENT 
 
NAY 

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