The Washington Post today contains a story about several men who are being held on secret evidence without charge. There is a full-throttle weepy component to the story, what with the children of one of the men coming to the prison to visit him and not being able to play, but later on we’re told this:
Mahjoub, 44, is accused by the government of belonging to a radical splinter group of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad organization, working on a Sudanese farm run by Osama bin Laden, staying briefly with a top-ranking member of al Qaeda, and lying about the stay when he entered Canada in 1995. He was working as a store clerk when he was arrested in 2000.
Adil Charkaoui, a Moroccan who worked in a pizza shop in Montreal, has been held on a security certificate since May 2003 for allegedly training at an al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan. Similar allegations have been made against Hassan Almrei, 30, a Syrian held since October 2001; Mohamed Harkat, 36, an Algerian held since December 2002; and Mahmoud Jaballah, 41, of Egypt, who has been held since June 2000 for allegedly making phone calls to an Egyptian Islamic Jihad group in London.
Well, what should be done with such men? If they are released, or even deported, they could become part of a terrorist strike. This is the Canadian government’s dilemma:
“You can’t use the ordinary machinery of law,” responded Bissett, the former immigration director. “To wait for an offense to be committed and then use due process of law is fine for dealing with criminals. It’s not fine for terrorists. You can’t wait for them to blow up several thousand people and then charge them.”