High Court Won’t Block Deportation

High court won't block deportation
Charkaoui appeal fails. Alleged Al-Qa'ida sleeper facing secret trial in Montreal but won't be allowed to attend

The Gazette
September 18, 2008

The Supreme Court of Canada will not intervene in deportation proceedings against Adil Charkaoui.

In a decision announced yesterday, it rebuffed Charkaoui's request for leave to appeal a Federal Court ruling.

The judges upheld Ottawa's contention that it can deport the 35-year-old Montreal teacher to Morocco on security grounds, even though Immigration Canada has twice determined he faces a risk of torture there.

As is customary with such refusals, Canada's highest court did not provide its reasons.

Lawyers for Charkaoui had argued – and lost in the lower court – that it is unconstitutional to deport someone who risks being tortured abroad.

They have now exhausted their last judicial recourse on this issue.

In a statement, a disappointed Charkaoui said he had wanted the Supreme Court to “give the Conservative government a clear directive about the absolute ban on deportation to torture.

“There is a frightening trend,” his statement added. “There are growing numbers of both non-citizens and citizens whom Canada has failed to protect from torture, from Sogi Singh to Maher Arar and more.”

An Immigration Canada officer had ruled in August 2003 that Charkaoui would be at risk of cruel and unusual punishment, torture or death if forced to return to Morocco, an evaluation confirmed last October.

Charkaoui, a permanent resident of Canada, arrived 13 years ago.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service has long alleged that Charkaoui is an Al-Qa'ida sleeper agent and has participated in terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He has vigorously denied the allegations, and asked that all evidence collected by CSIS be made public.

Separately, Charkaoui is challenging the federal government's use of special advocates in security-certificate proceedings that precede deportation. Use of such advocates was introduced by Ottawa after Charkaoui had won a landmark Supreme Court ruling against the federal government in February 2007.

Charkaoui is scheduled to undergo a secret trial in Montreal beginning in mid-October – one lasting as long as three weeks, which neither he nor his personal lawyers will be allowed to attend.

Details of evidence against him are to be disclosed to two special advocates appointed to act on Charkaoui's behalf. However, the two will not be able to reveal it to the accused or others, or to question Charkaoui to prepare a defence, unless Federal Court Judge Danile Tremblay-Lamer grants specific exemptions.

Members of the public, including media, will also be barred.

Charkaoui was arrested under a security certificate in 2003, imprisoned until 2005 and then released under stringent conditions. Among other restrictions, he continues to be forced to wear a GPS bracelet.