Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Charkaoui calls for inquiry into his terrorism case

Opposition MPs stand behind terror suspect
Elizabeth Thompson, The Montreal Gazette
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2007

Montrealer Adil Charkaoui called on Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day to review his file and order an inquiry into how his case has been handled, saying new evidence counters the government's charge that he is an al-Qaeda sleeper agent.

Speaking yesterday on Parliament Hill -- only the second time since he was first arrested in 2003 that he has been allowed to leave Montreal -- Mr. Charkaoui said a newspaper report last week in which convicted terrorist Ahmed Ressam said he never testified that Mr. Charkaoui was a terrorist marks the third time that secret evidence used to arrest and detain him has been discredited.

Mr. Day has said that Mr. Ressam's assertion won't prompt him to revisit Mr. Charkaoui's case. Mr. Charkaoui was sharply critical of that decision.

"I think it shows contempt and incompetence to pronounce yourself without having taken the trouble to examine the file again in light of the Supreme Court's decision and above all in light of the revelations by Ahmed Ressam," said Mr. Charkaoui. He was flanked by Bloc Quebecois, New Democratic and Liberal members of Parliament's citizenship and immigration committee, who support him. "Since 2003, my lawyers ... have asked to cross examine Mr. Ahmed Ressam and it was refused on the basis of secret evidence."

The Supreme Court of Canada struck down the security-certificate process in February, saying it contravened the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and gave the government a year to rewrite the law.

However, that did not wipe out the security-certificate proceedings pending against Mr. Charkaoui, which have been suspended since 2005 when it came to light that he faced possible torture if deported to Morocco.