Al-Qaeda Suspect Asks Canada o Stop Harassing Him

Al-Qaeda suspect asks Canada to stop harassing him

By Michel Comte
September 29, 2009

OTTAWA A suspected terrorist on Tuesday asked the Canadian government to stop harassing him and to apologize for six years of “hardships” after a federal court all but quashed the case against him.

A federal court last week ordered that the Canadian government cease its surveillance of Adil Charkaoui and lift restrictions on his movements in this country.

On Wednesday, the obscure security measure used to detain him is expected to be found “unreasonable” by the court and voided for lack of evidence, or withdrawn by the government.

“I'm here to ask the government to stop harassing me, officially apologize to me and to my family, and behave with dignity by respecting the court's ruling,” Charkaoui told a press conference.

He pointed to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS)'s statements in the media last week that its “key evidence” against him was solid, even though it withdrew it in court reportedly to safeguard its sources.

“I don't want to live anymore with the label 'ex-presumed terrorist,” said Charkaoui.

“If I'd been accused of being a serial killer or a pedophile, I could have said I hope to be rehabilitated, but this terrorist label sticks forever.”

CSIS still views Charkaoui as a security threat, and authorities continue to try to deport him to Morocco, which has issued an international warrant for his arrest. But for now, he is a free man in Canada.

One of his supporters, New Democratic Party MP Bill Siksay said he has asked parliament to support his efforts to strip from Canada's immigration act the so-called security certificates used to detain Charkaoui and others.

“Security certificates have turned into one of the worst violations of civil liberties and human rights in Canada,” said Siksay.

“Detaining individuals without charge, without trial and without conviction for seven and eight years should not be possible in a country that has confidence in its justice system and values fairness and due process.”

“Security certificates are an odious end-run around fairness, due process, respect for the justice system and human rights.”

Charkaoui was arrested in 2003 under the security measures contained in Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that permit secret court hearings and indefinite jailing of foreigners suspected of terror ties, without charges.

He was released two years later under strict bail conditions, which the federal court eased in February, after ruling he no longer posed a serious threat to Canada as an alleged Al-Qaeda sleeper agent due to his highly publicized case.

Charkaoui, however, lamented that he has been stripped of his teaching permit and cannot work or travel abroad.

He also cannot return to Morocco due to the allegations against him, and missed his son's birth while in jail for 21 months.

“I deserve compensation for that,” he said.


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