Photo by YYC: Supreme Court of Canada
G&M: Judge loosens some of terror suspect Mohamed Harkat’s release conditions
Is this the best that Canada can do after all these years?
In 1997, Mohamed Harkat was accepted by Canada as a legitimate refugee, unable to return to Algeria after a political party he had previously supported was voted into power, but then overrun by a military coup that pronounced that party illegal and was bent on rooting out any and all supporters.
Harkat was a contributing member of Canadian society, working at any job he could get and saving his money in the hope of starting his own business. But then America's 9/11 happened and, as the media pronounced over and over, everything changed. Suddenly all Muslims were suspect, and on Human Rights Day, December 2002, Moe Harkat was dragged into the "security" web.
He spent three years in jail and even after his release on stringent conditions, he had no clue what the charges were against him. It's now 2018 and gradually some restrictions have been removed, but he has actually not known a free moment for 15 years.
Numerous and tedious court hearings have been suffered through by Harkat, with his wife Sophie always there to support him, but it's like pulling teeth to gain the slightest concession. The recent court decision was just another small step toward legitimate freedom, and the whole drawn-out saga has cost Canadians huge numbers of dollars for ... what? The man has never lifted a finger to harm anyone, though he could have done, despite the restrictions, if he had been in any way inclined to.
The restrictions on Harkat may have provided employment for law enforcers, but the most recent court decision has blocked Harkat from finding steady, gainful employment, though psychiatric assessments have pronounced him absolutely unlikely to pose any danger to the public.
Photo by YYC:Sophie Harkat fights for her husband's freedom.
In fact, not so long ago, the RCMP concluded that there is more risk "from environmentalists than religiously inspired terrorists"!
Bizarrely, an Ottawa group surprisingly called "Democracy Watch" has made attempts to deprive Harkat of a particularly encouraging source of support in the person of Alex Trudeau, the PM's brother -- a bit late, actually, because Alex has been supporting Moe Harkat since at least 2005 in his capacity as a film maker and a champion of human rights, long before his brother Justin was elected.*
The Ottawa Citizen asks: Has Ottawa terror suspect Mohamed Harkat been de-radicalized?
A better question might be: was Mohamed Harkat ever radicalized? Another might be: whose conversations were wire-tapped?
I've personally eaten food prepared by Moe Harkat and I'm still around to tell, and tell, and tell the story that there's not a mean bone in that guy's body, and I think you have to be at least a little bit mean to be an effective terrorist.
Fortunately, our immigration/deportation system has one thing going for it, and that is "no deportation to torture". As the CBC notes: this will probably keep Harkat in Canada, but there are all kinds of torture, and, considering what he's been through, and what Sophie's been through with him, I think there are plenty of us who would consider it most definitely a kind of torture not to be able to live a normal life; to be suspected all the time of nefarious thoughts; not to be able to get a decent job; to be followed around everywhere one goes - and, like the Kafka protagonist, not to know the actual charges against one.
See Also: 11/16/17 Mohamed Harkat: Victim of Thought Police
* Photo by YYC: left to right: Christian Legeais, Alex Trudeau, Sophie Harkat - 2005
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