10 December, Human Rights Day
18 December, Refugee Day
The Federal Court finally released its reasons for upholding Mr. Mahjoub’s security certificate. In fact, Justice Blanchard found that Mr. Mahjoub has NOT engaged in terrorism or even subversion. He also found that most of the accusations that the government has deployed to keep Mr. Mahjoub in detention or under house arrest for 13 and a half years, are NOT reasonable, even on the extremely low standard of the security certificate process.
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Toronto, 9 December 2013 – The Federal Court ruled that the bulk of the allegations that security officials have used to keep Mohammad Zeki Mahjoub in immigration detention for well over a decade were in fact entirely unsusbstantiated. In particular, it found that the government failed to establish that Mohammad was engaged in subversion or terrorism , even on the extremely low threshold of the security certificate process.
The revelation came at the end of a long-awaited, heavily redacted, 327-page ruling, released on Friday, in which Federal Court Justice Blanchard struggles to justify his decision to uphold the government’s position that Mr. Mahjoub should be stripped of refugee status and returned to a country where he was found to be at risk of torture or death.
“Canadian immigration and security officials have dragged my name through the mud for 13 years. As a result, my brothers spent over 7 years in jail in Egypt, my family was torn apart and I’ve lost a quarter of my life in detention and house arrest in Canada without charge or trial,” said Mr. Mahjoub, from his Toronto home. “After all these years, the judge found that the government failed to show that I have ever been engaged in terrorism. Yet the judge has still refused to put an end to this.”
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On Friday, October 25th, the Federal Court of Canada ruled that the security certificate against Mohammad Mahjoub was “reasonable” even while finding that Mr. Mahjoub’s right to a fair trial had been violated. On that same day we rallied against this injustice insisting that the security certificate regime is unjust and that Mr. Mahjoub must be free.
Though the court announced its decision, the Federal Court’s reasons that led to it have still not been released, as government lawyers decide which parts will remain secret.
Last week, the Federal Court released its reasons for upholding the constitutionality of the security certificate process and for finding that Mr. Mahjoub’s charter rights had been violated. In the latter, it accepted that Mr. Mahjoub’s “right to a fair trial pursuant to Section 7 of the Charter and right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure have been violated” but chose politically to not throw out the security certificate proceedings, instead opening the door for an appeal. This is the very essence of passing the buck, forcing Mr. Mahjoub to live in uncertainty and anguish for years to come.
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Solidarity Across Borders stands in complete solidarity with Mohammad Mahjoub in his fight against the extreme injustices carried out against him by the Canadian state in the name of national security and couched in blatant Islamophobia.
The October 25th verdict of Judge Blanchard to uphold the so-called legitimacy of Mr. Mahjoub’s security certificate, proclaiming that his being held without charge for thirteen years is “reasonable,” is a tangible example of the racism that structures the Canadian legal apparatus.
We wholly denounce this racism and Islamophobia, and its permutations across the country. Particularly, here in Quebec, we have been opposing the Parti Québecois’ proposed Charter of Values as an extension of this, with its xenophobic, Islamophobic and sexist underpinnings, in which the self-determination and dignity of particular (Muslim) faith-based communities are targeted while others remain untouched.
We are deeply enraged by the violent reality that Mr. Mahjoub has been forced to endure, and we are inspired by his strength, his resistance, and the community support that has emerged around him.
We will continue to fight alongside Mr. Mahjoub and the hundreds of thousands of others who are living in the margins of a “Canadian democracy”, its racist immigration system and its violent colonial borders.
The struggle continues.
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Colin Perkel, Canadian Press, 6 November 2013
The government did violate the rights of an Egyptian man branded as a terrorist threat to Canada, but the breaches have either been remedied or weren’t serious enough to warrant throwing out the case, a Federal Court judge explained Wednesday.
In reasons released in support of rulings he made last week, Judge Edmond Blanchard found the government and Canada’s spy service made several mistakes over the 13 years Mohamed Mahjoub has been jailed or under house arrest.
Nevertheless, Blanchard ruled, those errors did not warrant stopping the proceedings.
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