Stop Secret Trials in Canada, October 10-11, Ottawa
Support Secret Trial Detainee Mohamed Harkat’s challenge to secret trials, protest the Supreme Court’s Shameful Secret Hearing, and more!
Information on Events, How to Get Involved Below!
For the third time since 2006, a challenge to Canada’s secret trial “security certificates” is being heard at the Supreme Court.
But in an alarming move, the Supreme Court of Canada, after a public hearing on Thursday, October 10, will conduct a completely secret hearing in an undisclosed location, and the secret trial detainee launching the challenge, Mohamed Harkat – along with his lawyers, supporters, the media, and the general public – will be shut out from the process.
Join us in Ottawa to attend the public hearing, protest the secret hearing, and explore the many ways this Kafkaesque process reflects Kafka’s The Trial!
1. Attend the public portion of the Supreme Court’s secret hearing on Thursday, October 10, 9 am (with pre-court vigil at 7:30 am), and hear the challenge of secret trial detainee Mohamed Harkat along with the arguments of numerous intervening organizations
2. Attend an evening presentation of Kafka’s The Trial, adapted to reflect Canada’s secret trial process (Thursday, October 10, St Paul’s University, 7:30 pm)
3. Where’s the justice (and where are the justices?) Join the Journey to find the Supreme Court judges shamefully holding a secret hearing, October 11, 9:30 am. Telescopes, magnifying glasses, flashlights, and other search aids welcome for a vigil and walk through Ottawa to find (and open up) the secret hearing. Meet at Kent and Wellington (Supreme Court building).
Secret trial detainee Mohamed Harkat, subject to a secret trial security certificate since December 10, 2002 (International Human Rights Day) once again heads to the Supreme Court to challenge the unconstitutional law that has detained him for 11 years without telling him why. This is the third challenge to secret trials (in 2007, the process was declared unconstitutional, and in 2008, additional portions of the legislation were found to violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms). This two-tier system of justice allows for lower standards of proof for permanent residents and refugees than it does for Canadian citizens, and is based on information not normally admissable in a court of law, including information gleaned from torture. In other words, those subject to the process are no longer in a court of law.
Secret trials not only affect five Muslim men (The Secret Trial Five), some of whom have been resisting them since well before 2001. Secrecy has become embedded in the refugee determination process, with some 100 secret hearings since 2008. Secrecy is invoked to hide Canadian complicity in torture and to cover up governmental abuses. Meanwhile, discriminatory precedents seeking to cement the idea that people forced to flee to Canada as refugees should have fewer rights than those born here continue to grow.
Mohamed Harkat is a refugee from Algeria who came to Canada seeking freedom from persecution. Rather than celebrating in style his 2-year marriage anniversary with Sophie Harkat, he was in solitary confinement in 2003, and not released from prison until 2006, and only under the most draconian bail conditions in Canadian history, effectively imprisoning him, his wife, and members of their family. Despite the 11-year process that has sought to ultimately deport Mr. Harkat to Algeria, where we would face torture, both he, his wife, their family, and a large community of friends and supporters have maintained a strong bond of resistance to secret trials in Canada. After seven years of being attached to a GPS monitoring device, Moe was finally able to snip the slave bracelet around his ankle this past summer, but still faces the related humiliations of house arrest and other bail conditions based on secret allegations he will likely never see. The Harkats hope that this appeal to the Supreme Court will end the nightmare they have endured for almost half of their adult lives.
Join us for two days of activities sponsored by the Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada and Justice for Mohamed Harkat Committee. These activities all embrace the nonviolent philosophy that pledges to do no violence – whether verbal, physical, or psychological – and honours the dignity of all human beings, including our opponents. We ask that anyone joining us respect such guidelines.
1. If you are coming to Ottawa and need a place to stay, let us know as soon as possible at email@example.com or call (613) 828-8468
2. If you cannot make it to Ottawa, consider organizing an October 11 “Vigil of Shame” at a local courthouse or federal government building to protest the Supreme Court’s secret hearing. Let us know if you plan to do this and details will be included in a national press release.
3. Contribute to the costs of the Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada, which initiated a campaign against secret trial security certificates in August, 2001 and has continued ever since to seek their abolition. Cheques can be made out to Homes not Bombs and mailed to PO Box 2020, 57 Foster Street, Perth, ON K7H 1R0