Thursday, June 15, 2006

Ottawa: Security Certificate Case Continues

Today will be the third day of the trial in the Supreme Court of Canada about the constitutionality of Security Certificates. Tuesday was the first day with Adil Charkoui, who was the first Security Certificate member who was released on bail on strict conditions. He was allowed to travel to Ottawa for three days for the trial, while usually he is unable to leave the island of Montreal. To see pictures and a report go to YaYaCanada who was actually in the courtroom for part of the trial.

I was however, able to get to 'Camp Hope' on the lawn of the Supreme Court. Not many people were outside as most were inside the Supreme Court, but a handful were handing out leaflets to those who went by and banners from across the country were streached out across the lawn. Most people on the street seemed pretty responsive towards the issue. Maybe the ideas of fair trial are part of the 'Canadian Values' many politicians talk about. One person even stopped their car and reached over as hard as possible past their passenger to get me to run and give them a flyer. When I was there only one person vehemently disagreed with us. This person exclaimed "No I don't agree with it! They are terrorists they should be locked up and done away with!" I posed the question that "How do we know if they are terrorists if they do not have a fair trial?" Yet, she just stormed away without answering.

The main issue with Security Certificates the lack of fair trial. Do I know if the Security Certificate Five are guilty or innocent? No, I don't, but is the responsibility of a fair and democratic system for people to be innocent before proven guilty. They also need to have access to the evidence being put against them and, they should not be apprehended on merely a suspicion to be put in jail. Especially not a jail with bad conditions and little access to their families as, the new Guantanamo North in Kingston is.

Yesterday, Hassan Almrei was the one in the Supreme Court. He is one of the three still being held in Guantanamo North and, is one of the three hunger strikers. Today is the last day of the trial with Ottawa resident Mohamed Harkat who was just released on bail with extreme strict conditions. He is only allowed to leave the house three times a week for four hour periods which he has to get federal approval for, he always has to be with either his wife or mother-in-law, he must wear a GPS tracking bracelet at all times and, there are other conditions.

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