Press Release For immediate diffusion
Montreal, 23 January 2003 - The Coalition for Justice for Adil Charkaoui is disappointed and frustrated by today's federal court decision not to release Mr. Charkaoui. The court decision was based on a 12 January detention review, in which Charkaoui asked for release under conditions.
Ten people - including prominent doctor and political leader Amir Khadir, Order of Canada holder Murray Thomson, and a former professor of Charkaoui at the University of Montreal - offered a total of $50,000 bail for his release. Moreover, Adil Charkauoi provided proof that the ministerial information was simply not credible in the view of the FBI's own terrorism experts. "How is it that this evidence was neither taken into account nor discussed in the court's decision?" asked Coalition member Mary Foster.
"The decision puts the burden of proof on Adil to show that he is not a danger," added Foster. "This undermines the very foundations of the justice system, innocent until proven guilty."
The Coalition believes that the decision threatens everyone in Canada. "In fact, this process is itself a danger to security - not only to my family but to all of us in Canada," added Hind Charkaoui, sister of Mr. Charkaoui. "Isn't it a threat when we are in danger of being locked up on the decision of a single person - Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Anne McLellan - with no charges being laid, accusations being made in secret, and no right to a trial under a judge who has the power to decide on the validity of the accusations?"
"One real security issue that actually affects many women in this city is that we feel afraid walking alone at nights. Should we begin locking up certain men until they prove that they are not a threat to women? Should we do so on the basis of ethnic profiling? I hope not! And yet this is the way in which Security Certificates work," said Foster.
Adil Charkaoui, a Montreal student and a father of two young children, has been locked up since the end of May 2003. Under a Security Certificate, he is imprisoned without charges, is not given access to the information that CSIS is presenting to the judge, and is not given an opportunity to argue the validity of accusations being made against him. If the judge decides that there are "reasonable grounds" for the certificate, Charkaoui will be deported to Morocco, without right to appeal the decision. Because of the proceedings against him in Canada, Amnesty International believes he will likely suffer further violations of his rights in Morocco, including detention without release, torture, cruel and inhumane treatment and even death.
(The Coalition for Justice for Adil Charkaoui formed in Montreal in a matter of days after Charkaoui's abrupt arrest. The Coalition - an alliance of Muslim groups, refugee and immigrant rights organizations, anti-oppression groups and the Charkaoui family - demands the immediate release of all Security Certificate detainees, no deportations, a fair trial, an immediate end to the "Security Certificate" system, an end to scape-goating in response to American pressure, and an end to the harassment of Muslims and Arabs.)
Coalition for Justice for Adil Charkaoui
tel 1 514 859 9023
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