Friday, December 10, 2004
As you read this, five Muslim men remain detained without charge or bail on secret evidence neither they nor their lawyers are allowed to see, in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. They have been behind bars anywhere from 18 months to over four years, denied a fair trial, and are at risk of deportation to torture.
These men are not some shadowy figures in a passport photo. They are teachers, students, poets, artists, parents, husbands, friends and workers. Their names are: Mohammad Mahjoub (detained, June 2000); Mahmoud Jaballah (August 2001); Hassan Almrei (October, 2001); Mohamed Harkat (December, 2002); and Adil Charkaoui (May, 2003).
The families of these men and their supporters are calling for a NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION on FRIDAY 10 DECEMBER to call for FOUR things:
1. That the five men be released immediately; or, if any case against them actually exists, that they be allowed to defend themselves in open, fair and independent trials with full disclosure of the case against them.
2. That they not be deported.
3. That the federal government abolish the secret trial security certificate process.
4. That CSIS and the RCMP end its ongoing harassment and intimidation of folks of Arabic, Middle Eastern, and South Asian
heritage and/or Muslim faith.
On International Human Rights Day, December 10, which is also the second anniversary of the detention of one of the Secret Trial Five, we invite individuals and groups concerned about secret trials and deportation to torture to hold vigils, protests, press points, delegations or other actions at MPs' offices, at CSIS and RCMP offices, in public squares, or other appropriate places.
Our last national day of action, October 31, 2003, saw demonstrations in almost a dozen communities across Canada, with a nervous CSIS issuing a statement the day before stating that they did not target Muslims. Charges against four individuals arrested at CSIS in Ottawa that day were eventually thrown out, and CSIS has not issued a security certificate in almost 18 months.
These are small signs of progress, but they are certainly not enough. The men and their families have been subject to years of imprisonment, solitary confinement, loss of friends, poverty, confusion about WHY they are detained, and daily uncertainty about whether they will be removed in the night to face torture overseas in the morning. And this is continuing.
The attacks on the dignity and rights of these men is part of a much broader attack on refugees and immigrants, and very specifically Muslim and Arab communities. Standing up for the rights of the Secret Trial Five is a concrete way to confront the politics of racist fear, which is being used to justify expanding governmental powers and war policies.
Please join us on 10 December to make visible what CSIS would prefer to be invisible: the cruel injustice of secret trials in Canada.
If you would like more information, or plan to organize something in your community, please contact us at: email@example.com or (416) 651-5800. We can provide a flyer for distribution at your events and a poster to help advertise it. More background information is available at www.zerra.net/freemohamed, www.homesnotbombs.ca, and www.adilinfo.org.
Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada (Toronto)
Coalition for Justice for Adil (Montreal)
Committee for Justice for Mohamed Harkat (Ottawa)
BACK TO SECRET TRIALS HOMEPAGE