Help us fight for justice, Harkat's wife asks Muslims

Sophie Harkat, the wife of an Algerian refugee who was detained under a security certificate and accused of being an al-Qaeda sleeper agent, urged several hundred Muslims yesterday to lobby politicians for a fair trial for her husband and others who have

Help us fight for justice, Harkat's wife asks Muslims
Sophie Harkat, the wife of an Algerian refugee who was detained under a security certificate and accused of being an al-Qaeda sleeper agent, urged several hundred Muslims yesterday to lobby politicians for a fair trial for her husband and others who have also been detained under the controversial law.

"Let's assure that justice prevails," she told Muslims attending the Islamic Society of North America conference at the Congress Centre. "Injustice to one is injustice to all."

A former gas station attendant, Mr. Harkat was arrested in 2002 while taking out the garbage outside their house. Since then, Ms. Harkat told the crowd, their lives have been turned upside down.

"The past few years have been a roller coaster of emotions, stress, anxiety and a complete nightmare for my husband and family," she said.

"And it continues to be."

After spending more than three years in detention, Mr. Harkat was released, under what Ms. Harkat called "the strictest bail conditions in Canadian history."

"We do not even have a PlayStation because it has an Internet chip in it," she said.

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that the security certificate review process was unconstitutional, and gave the federal government one year to revise it.

At least for now, Mr. Harkat will avoid deportation to Algeria. Earlier this month, a Federal Court judge ordered a stay on Mr. Harkat's deportation process.

The conference session, which focused on civil liberties and national security policies, drew a wide-range of listeners, from two men in white vests with "Canada" emblazoned on the back to girls wearing hijabs.

Ms. Harkat also spoke about her husband's time in detention: He did not see a toothbrush in the first week and a Koran for the first two months, Ms. Harkat said.

Initially, one guard referred to him as "terrorist" instead of using his name, she added.

Later, he was transferred to the Millhaven Institution, where security certificate detainees are "treated worse than animals."

"They are not considered human beings," she said.

The conference, which is expected to draw 3,000 people, continues today.
Last Mod: 20 Mayıs 2007, 13:11
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