Statement protesting violation of Solicitor-Client Privilege
Since 1996, the government has violated Mr. Mahjoub’s right to confidential discussions with his lawyers about legal strategies. In the latest instance, in summer 2011, government officials seized confidential documents belonging to Mr. Mahjoub’s lawyers at the Federal Court, removed them to the Department of Justice, and proceeded to sort through and review them.
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We, the undersigned, are writing to express our profound support for justice for Mr. Mohammad Zeki Mahjoub who has been held on a Security Certificate since June 2000.
We demand that Security Certificate proceedings against him end immediately so that he is free from conditions and the threat of deportation.
We believe that Mr. Mahjoub’s right to a fair trial has been repeatedly compromised and continued legal proceedings against him place the very ideas of justice into greater disrepute.
The most recent instance is the seizure of Mr. Mahjoub’s confidential court preparation documents. In July 2011, government officials entered Mr. Mahjoub’s lawyers’ room at the Federal Court. The room was full of boxes of confidential documents belonging to Mr. Mahjoub and his lawyers. The government officials removed the boxes, viewed the materials and then mixed them up (commingled) with their own government documents.
Earlier, CSIS officials admitted in court that, from about 1996 to 2006, CSIS and/or Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) listened to, recorded, analysed and used Mr. Mahjoub’s conversations with his lawyers (as well as his family members and friends) against him. In December 2010, the court found that, despite an order to cease doing so, CSIS had continued the practice of listening to his conversations with his lawyers for two more years.
These actions by government officials have undercut solicitor – client privilege, which is one of the bases of any just legal proceedings.
As if an 11 year process which uses secret evidence obtained under torture, where there are no charges, where the Federal Court has ruled the presumption of innocence does not apply, and where Mr. Mahjoub has already spent nearly 8 years in prison and four under house arrest were not enough, government officials have repeatedly gained access to the one avenue he has to prove his innocence – his legal counsel.
Such a measure is unjust, illegal and shows lack of good faith on part of the government. As a result, we are adding our voices to a growing chorus opposing security certificates and demanding that Mr. Mahjoub be granted reprieve from an 11 year nightmare that has gone on too long.
- People’s Commission Network
- Canadian Labour Congress
- No One Is Illegal Toronto
- Movement Defence Committee
- Muslim Council of Montreal
- Centre for Constitutional Rights (CCR)
- Fredericton Peace Coalition
- Council of Canadian-Islamic Relations – Canada (CAIR-CAN)
- National Muslim Law Students’ Association-Canada
- Science for Peace
- Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada
- Toronto Action for Social Change
- Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW)
- Toronto Anarchist Black Cross (ABC)
- Law Union of Ontario
- KW Anti-Torture Coalition
- Poverty Makes Us Sick (PMUS)
- Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT)
- Toronto Stop the Cuts