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Canada: Amnesty International present at hearing of appeal in Mohamed Harkat case

    October 16, 2013

    On 10 October 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada held a public hearing on the extremely important case of Mohamed Harkat, regarding the constitutionality of Canada’s security certificate system. A secret hearing at an undisclosed location (perhaps the first in the history of the Supreme Court of Canada) took place on 11 October.

    Back in 2007, Canada’s highest court had ruled that the system was unconstitutional, and it was revised by Parliament the following year. One of the main changes to the law was the addition of “Special Advocates” – lawyers who have full access to the evidence brought by the government, but who are restricted in several ways, including in their communications with the person whose rights are at stake.

    Amnesty International Canada was present at the hearing of the appeal on October 10, intervening on the right to a fair trial under international human rights law, and Special Advocates’ inability to act as a panacea to remedy the serious problems with the security certificate system. Our lawyers were Michael Bossin, Laïla Demirdache, and Chantal Tie, and they were assisted by AI Canada’s Legal Coordinator Anna Shea.