[Riad Saloojee is executive director of the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations.]
It’s about time: Our Supreme Court will finally review the constitutionality of security certificates. In last week’s decision, the court granted that opportunity to Moroccan Adil Charkaoui, currently on bail after being held for two years on terrorism allegations.
Four other Muslim non-citizens held under the certificates have already lived in limbo for a total of more than 14 years. And they have been subjected to conditions, as the U.N. Committee on Arbitrary Detention recently noted, that are more severe than those imposed on convicted killer Karla Homolka.
Two men on certificates, Hasan Almrei and Mohammed Mahjoub, have complained about systemic prison abuse during their nine-year tenure and are on prolonged hunger strikes. Almrei, held in solitary confinement for four years, is on day 69 of his hunger strike. He is not even asking for freedom; he is asking for an hour a day of exercise to keep his legs working properly.
Security certificates have been termed “Canada’s dirtiest little secret.” Even judges have been critical. Federal Court Justice James Hugessen lamented that the justices who listen to these cases “hate” the process. A judge sits alone looking at materials produced by only one party, and must then rule, given the one-sided and untested evidence, whether the certificate is “reasonable.” (MORE)