Courtroom Jihad Update from AP, with thanks to Stephen:
OTTAWA – Three Muslim men are challenging Canada’s policy toward foreign-born terror suspects in the country’s highest court, arguing that detaining them for years if they refuse to return to their homelands violates Canada’s constitution.
Mohamed Harkat, Adil Charkaoui and Hassan Almrei are accused by the Canadian intelligence service of having ties to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network. They say they are innocent and have spent years in detention as the government their cases.
The alternative, the government says, is for them to return to their countries respectively Algeria, Morocco and Syria. But the men say that is not a realistic option as they would face torture.
They also challenge the conditions of their detention and the government’s refusal to disclose evidence against them. The Supreme Court was expected to hear their arguments beginning Tuesday.
The system “violates fundamental justice,” said Paul Copeland, a lawyer for Harkat. “These cases will help determine whether Canada follows the lawless American approach on national security or creates a uniquely Canadian path in conformity with the principles of international justice.”
Two other detainees, Mohammad Mahjoub and Mahmoud Jaballah, aren’t part of the current challenge but their fates likely rest on the outcome. Both are Egyptian.
Charkaoui, 32, was released on $42,000 bail last year after 21 months in detention on allegations he is a sleeper agent for al-Qaida. He denies the connection but fears he will be tortured if he is deported to his native Morocco.
“I am heading to the Supreme Court with optimism,” Charkaoui said in a statement. “Despite the difficulty, we have succeeded in bringing this issue to the fore and gaining an impressive level of support, both in Canada and internationally.”