Trudeau: Stop Mohamed Harkat’s Deportation to Torture
Monday, June 25 — 11:00 am
Prime Minister’s Office (intersection of Wellington and Elgin) For information: Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada,
(613) 267-3998, firstname.lastname@example.org
We will hold a vigil in support of Mohamed Harkat, facing deportation to torture, and present a copy of the legally binding Convention Against Torture to Justin Trudeau. The Convention forbids the Trudeau government from pursuing its goal of deporting Harkat.
Justin Trudeau’s government is trying to deport Mohamed Harkat, a refugee who has lived in this country for 22 years, to face torture in Algeria.
On October 26, 2017, Trudeau clearly stated: “I hope people remember to demand of governments, this one and all future governments, that nobody ever has their fundamental rights violated either through inaction or deliberate action by Canadian governments. Nobody ever deserves to be tortured. And when a Canadian government is either complicit in that or was not active enough in preventing it, there needs to be a responsibility taken.”
On June 25, (on the eve of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture), we gather at the Prime Minister’s Ottawa office (Elgin and Wellington, unceded Algonquin territory) to call on Trudeau to take that responsibility and end his government’s efforts to deport Mohamed Harkat to torture. We will demand, as Trudeau has called all of us to do, that he stop violating Mohamed Harkat’s fundamental rights.
The basis for these efforts to torture Mr. Harkat is a medieval star chamber process known as the secret trial security certificate that still exists, and which still fails the test posed when it was first declared unconstitutional in 2007: “How can one meet a case one does not know?”
Since International Human Rights Day in 2002, when he was arrested in Ottawa without charge, without bail, and thrown into solitary confinement for over a year in conditions that were tantamount to torture, Mr. Harkat has never been allowed to see the substance of the case against him, if any exists.
The whole basis of the alleged case rests on secret hearsay allegations from an informant who failed a lie detector test and an informant who was carrying on an affair with his CSIS agent handler. It’s also based on decades-old summaries of conversations, the original recordings and transcripts of which were destroyed and whose accuracy and existence is impossible to verify.
The Trudeau regime is perhaps familiar with the techniques of psychological torture, also known as no-touch torture, that were perfected in Montreal at McGill University during the 1950s. Mr. Harkat is being subjected to just such a form of psychological torture now, because every moment of every day for over 15 years, he has lived with the threat of being shipped to an Algerian torture chamber.
On June 25, we are demanding that Trudeau end this psychological torture which consists of keeping Mr. Harkat suspended in limbo, unable to move on with his life, because he never knows when the shock of electric prods or the snap of the whip will be his daily reality.
Such a decision to end these deportation to torture proceedings would be wholly consistent with England’s Special Immigration Appeals Commission, which settled this issue in 2016 when it ordered Theresa May to stop deporting Algerian nationals at risk of torture, and the Irish Supreme Court, which last July blocked a deportation to Algeria because of the real risk of torture. The Canadian government’s proceedings in Mr. Harkat’s case violate legally binding domestic and international commitments under the Convention Against Torture.
One of this country’s leading mental health professionals recently produced a report that concluded: “It cannot be overemphasized how stressful Mr. Harkat’s present situation is, and how the present situation is anything but benign. Mr. Harkat has a history of chronic depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress related to having been incarcerated on a Security Certificate in maximum security for 43 months, including one year in solitary confinement followed by many years of living under very strict bail conditions and facing deportation to Algeria where he believes he will be arrested, tortured and at risk of death. There are times when Mr. Harkat has experienced recurrent visions on a virtually daily basis over several months of being arrested, incarcerated, deported and tortured. Often he has been troubled by insomnia and recurrent nightmares with the same themes as his daytime visions.”
We don’t want one of Trudeau’s successors to have to apologize for this ongoing human rights abuse years from now. The time to end it is now. We are demanding, as Trudeau called us to do, to lift the deportation to torture order and end the cruel, inhumane proceedings against Mr. Harkat.
Allow Moe to stay in Canada, and end this government’s violation of the Convention Against Torture.