Protest the decision to deny protection to Adil Charkaoui!

Let Paul Martin know we will not tolerate sending people to torture!
Fax/letter-writing campaign (19 to 25 August 2004)

Dear friends and allies,

LAST WEEK, Adil Charkaoui received the news that he would not be granted protection by Canada. Canada is considering deporting Mr. Charkaoui to Morocco but, under the UN Convention against Torture, it is prohibited to deport people to torture. Immigration Canada concluded an assessment in August 2003 that Adil Charkaoui does indeed risk torture, cruel and unusual punishment, and even death if he is deported. Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch corroborated this assessment. But the new Ministry of Public Safety's Canadian Border Services Agency disagreed and they now have the final word.

Why is Canada intent on deporting someone when, on the assessment of Immigration Canada, he will be tortured? The decision and the steps leading up to it (see below) raise further serious questions about the unacceptable priorities being established in the name of the "war on terrorism".

It is very important that Paul Martin hear strong objections to the decision to deny protection and to continue with the unfair process that could eventually lead to Mr. Charkaoui's deportation, torture and death.

Write a letter and send to Prime Minister Paul Martin, House of Commons, Parliament, Ottawa ON K1A 0A6, fax 613 941 6900. or e-mail

In your letter, please firmly (but politely):

· remind him that deporting someone to a place where he is likely to be tortured is a violation of the Convention against Torture

· remind him that Immigration Canada, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch all agree that Mr. Charkaoui would be tortured if deported to Morocco

· remind him that the US sought and received diplomatic assurances from Syria before rendering Maher Arar to torture

· demand Paul Martin's assurances that Adil Charkaoui and the other four Muslim men under security certificates, all of whom face torture, will not be deported

It is also very important to:

· remind him that Charkaoui and the others insist on their innocence and that none of them are being allowed to argue this in open court

· demand the immediate release and a fair and independent trial for all five men

CC the letter to:

Anne McLellan, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness,
c/o Solicitor General of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario,
K1A 0A6
OR fax 613-990-9077
or e-mail:

Send a copy of your letter to us at
Coalition Justice for Adil Charkaoui
tel. 514 859 9023, j

BACKGROUND 18 August 2004

Decision to deny Charkaoui protection against torture raises serious questions for Canada

The Coalition for Justice for Adil Charkaoui was outraged by last week's decision to deny protection to Adil Charkaoui. The decision by the Ministry of Public Safety's Canadian Border Services Agency raises serious questions for Canada.

"Why is Canada denying protection to someone who, on Immigration Canada's assessment, risks torture and death if deported?" asked coalition member Marie-Eve Lamy. "What do they hope to achieve?"

Last summer Canada began considering whether it should grant protection to Adil Charkaoui. Charkaoui may be facing deportation to Morocco under a security certificate, though he vehemently denies the security allegations brought against him and is not being given the opportunity to defend himself in open court. While no danger previously existed for Charkaoui in Morocco, the allegations made against him in Canada have created a risk. Before his arrest in May 2003, Mr. Charkaoui was intending to finish his Masters degree in pedagogy, and then relocate to Morocco with his wife (a teacher) and their two children. This is no longer an option for the family.

By August 2003, Immigration Canada had concluded an assessment confirming that Charkaoui would be at risk of torture and death if deported to his birth country Morocco. This assessment was corroborated by both Human Rights Watch (25 March 2004) and Amnesty International (28 July 2003). It has been further substantiated by reports on the use of torture in presumed terrorist cases in Morocco: "Les Autorites Marocaines a l'Epreuve du Terrorisme: La Tentation de l'Arbitraire, Violations flagrantes des droits de l'Homme dans la lutte anti-terroriste", (International Federation on Human Rights, February 2004, and "Torture in the "anti-terrorism" campaign" (Amnesty International, June 2004,

Most unusually, the Immigration Canada risk assessment was withheld from Mr. Charkaoui until April 2004, for over seven months. Mr. Charkaoui's lawyer has argued that this is a clear abuse of process which added unnecessary stress to the Charkaoui family. But it may have been more than this.

In mid-February, a letter was sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the government of Morocco. Ostensibly, the aim of the letter was to request assurances that Mr. Charkaoui would not be mistreated if deported to that country. But an April 2004 report by Human Rights Watch exposes the practice of seeking diplomatic assurances as an effort to circumvent international law, sometimes with the active intent that torture be used to extract confessions. The report, "False Promises: Diplomatic Assurances no Safeguard against Torture" censures Canada, along with other countries, for this practice (

"Diplomatic assurances are no guarantee against torture. This has been documented; the Canadian government is well aware of this fact; the Supreme Court recognised it in its 2002 Suresh decision," said Lamy. "In the case of Maher Arar, the United States sought and received diplomatic assurances from Syria before Arar was transferred to months of torture in that country."

In its letter, despite the fact that not even a judicial review of Mr. Charkaoui's case has taken place, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote that Mr. Charkaoui "constitutes a threat to the security of Canada". It is simply unconscionable to make such a statement to a government whose use of torture in cases of presumed terrorism has been well-documented. Morocco, together with Eygpt and Jordan, have been cited as the three countries which the United States has used most often to render suspects up to torture.

The admission by former CSIS-head Ward Elcock in the Arar inquiry that Canada knowingly shares information with countries that engage in torture angered many Canadians, who are still coming to terms with the shocking revelations about the use of torture in Iraq. The letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the decision to refuse Mr. Charkaoui protection are further evidence that the use of torture is much closer to home than many Canadians want to believe.

The decision also raises questions about the new Public Safety Ministry - Canada's answer to the American "Homeland Security" department - and the role it plays in prioritising and defining what counts as "security" in Canada. Decisions about granting protection were previously made by Immigration Canada, the body which assessed that Charkaoui would be at risk. Now the new Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), which falls under the Ministry of Public Safety, carries out such investigations within a framework of "security".

In rejecting protection for Charkaoui, Anne Arnott, the head of the Case Management Branch of CBSA, stated that she could not conclude that torture is systematic in Morocco. While admitting that it seems some torture takes place in Morocco, Arnott ignores reports from FIDH and Amnesty International indicating that the use of torture is indeed systematic in cases of presumed "terrorism". She does not take into account statements from US intelligence officials that Morocco is one of the top countries used for "rendition", dismisses the assessment of Immigration Canada and letters from both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch about Charkaoui himself, ignores the fact that Charkaoui's name has been associated with terrorism in an official letter from the government of Canada, and concludes that nothing shows that Adil Charkaoui himself would be targeted if sent back. Even more astonishingly, she asserts that assurances from the government of Morocco that it has laws against torture are evidence that Charkaoui faces no risk if deported! She ends by noting, as further indication that he is in no need of protection, that Charkaoui has never asked for asylum. But of course this misses the point that it is the allegations made against him in Canada which have put him in danger.

Most shockingly, Arnott concludes that, even if she has underestimated the risk to Adil Charkaoui, the danger that he constitutes to the security of Canada makes it okay to deport him anyway - once again, the extraordinary claim about the danger he poses is made before any judicial review of the accusations have taken place! But even if there were any just foundation for arriving at this extreme position about the threat he represents, her conclusion clearly violates the Convention against torture, which includes an absolute prohibition on deportation to torture, in all circumstances. Canada has refused to integrate this prohibition into its laws and policies, a refusal that has earned the country censure from the UN. Sleep deprivation, beatings of the head and body and soles of feet with fists or wooden sticks or metal rulers, electric shocks to the genitals, sexual humiliation in all its forms and agonies, threats of rape, threats to loved ones, suspended from the ceiling in contorted positions, forced to kneel without moving for hours, sensory deprivation, forced over and over to climb ladders drawn on the wall and being beaten for failing, head plunged into a sink full of water, cigarette burns - all accepted by Arnott and Canada.

A decision left in the hands of a single, elected Minister is bound to be a political one and open to abuse. There could hardly be better proof than this decision.

One of the "secret trial five", five Muslim men who are imprisoned without charges under secret evidence in Canada, Mr. Charkaoui has been in prison in Montreal since May 2003. He will continue to fight his deportation in the courts, through a constitutional challenge to the security certificate process and by trying to clear himself under that biased process. None of the five men have had, and, under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, none will have, a trial on whether or not the accusations made against them are accurate. In a process which has been described as "fundamentally flawed and unfair" by Amnesty International, Mr. Charkaoui and the other men face deportation to their countries of origin if a Federal Court judge deems that the allegations, the details of which are concealed from the men, are "reasonable".

More background:

Coalition for Justice for Adil Charkaoui, tel 514 859 9023

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Communiqué de presse
Coalition justice pour Adil Charkaoui
tél. 514 859 9023,,

Paul Martin confronté sur la décision concernant Charkaoui : "ne nous laissons jamais devenir le mal que nous déplorons "

Montréal, le 19 août, 2004 - Le Premier ministre Paul Martin est critiqué de toute part cette semaine pour la décision de sa ministre de refuser la protection contre la torture, au détenu des procès secrets, Adil Charkaoui. Amnistie Internationale, la Coalition pour la surveillance internationale des libertés civiles (CSILC), et des membres du Parlement dont Ed Broadbent sont parmi ceux qui s'élèvent contre la décision de la ministre de la Sécurité publique Anne McLellan.

"Le Maroc, ainsi que l'Égypte et la Jordanie sont souvent cités comme les trois pays sur lesquels comptent les États-Unis pour livrer des suspects vers la torture. Une décision canadienne de refuser la protection à M. Charkaoui soulève de sérieuses questions quant à la possible complicité du Canada dans cette pratique", a affirmé la CSILC dans une lettre à Paul Martin. La CSILC est une coalition de plus de 30 syndicats et ONGs, dont le Congrès du travail du Canada, Droits et démocratie, le Conseil canadien pour la coopération, l'AQOCI, Développement et Paix et Vision mondiale Canada.

"Dans la foulée de l'affaire Maher Arar, cette décision soulève à nouveau de sérieuses questions quant à la volonté du Canada, qui se trouve sous la pression de la prétendue "guerre au terrorisme", de protéger les droits humains fondamentaux", a déclaré Warren Allmand, ancien solliciteur général libéral, dans une lettre au Premier ministre du Canada.

" Vous avez l'obligation d'assurer que soit accordé à M. Charkaoui des procédures justes et transparentes, et qu'il ne soit pas déporté vers la torture ou même la mort. La sécurité nationale ne doit jamais être aux dépens des droits humains ", a écrit Alexa Mc Donough, député d'Halifax et porte-parole du NDP en matière d'affaires étrangères.

Au mois d'août 2003, Immigration Canada a estimé que Charkaoui, un résident permanent du Canada, risquait la torture et la mort s'il était déporté au Maroc. Cette évaluation a été corroborée par Human Rights Watch ainsi que par Amnistie Internationale. Cependant, ces opinions d'experts ont été écartées dans la décision politisée du nouveau Ministère de la Sécurité publique et de la Protection civile (SPPCC), l'écho canadien du "Homeland Security" aux États-Unis. S'appuyant sur les assurances du Maroc à l'effet que le pays était doté de lois contre la torture, Anne Arnott de SPPCC a conclu qu'Immigration Canada et les organisations de droits humains s'étaient trompé. Mais la Syrie avait fourni des assurances semblables avant que Maher Arar ne leur soit envoyé et subisse des mois de torture.

En rendant sa décision, Arnott a également dit que même si elle sous-estimait les risques encourus par M. Charkaoui, il demeurait acceptable de le déporter. Cela constitue un aveu scandaleux que le Canada accepte la torture et qu'il est prêt à violer la Convention contre la torture, qui comporte une interdiction absolue de déporter vers des pays qui pratiquent la torture. La situation est d'autant plus scandaleuse qu'en vertu des lois canadiennes actuelles, il n'y aura aucun procès pour déterminer si les allégations qui ont été faites contre M. Charkaoui sont réellement fondées. M. Charkaoui nie ces allégations avec véhémence et n'exige qu'une occasion de laver sa réputation de ces soupçons dans un procès équitable.

Le Maroc ne représentait aucun danger pour M. Charkaoui avant les allégations de terrorisme faites contre lui par le Canada. Si M. Charkaoui est déporté, le Maroc subira alors des pressions pour qu'il traite M. Charkaoui comme un suspect terroriste afin de démontrer son sérieux dans la "guerre contre le terrorisme". Le Maroc a été cité comme l'un des trois pays les plus souvent utilisés par les États-Unis pour livrer des suspects à la torture.

L'un des "Cinq en procès secret" -- cinq hommes musulmans emprisonnés au Canada sans chef d'accusation, en vertu de preuves secrètes -- M. Charkaoui est détenu à Montréal depuis le mois de mai 2003. Il poursuivra sa lutte contre sa déportation, en contestant la constitutionnalité des certificats de sécurité et en essayant de prouver son innocence dans le cadre ce procès biaisé. Aucun d'entre les cinqs n'a eu de procès et, selon la loi sur l'immigration et la protection des réfugiés, aucun n'aura droit à un procès permettant d'établir si oui ou non les accusations faites à son endroit sont véridiques. En vertu d'un procédé qu'Amnistie Internationale a décrit comme " fondamentalement vicié et injuste ", M. Charkaoui et les autres hommes font face à la déportation vers leurs pays d'origine si un juge de la Cour fédérale considère que les allégations, dont les détails leur demeureront cachés, sont "raisonnables".

Contacts médias : tél. 514 521 5252 ; cell 514 880 4600

Pour plus d'information :
Source : Coalition justice pour Adil Charkaoui
tél. 514 859 9023,

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