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“Suspicion” of CSIS and RCMP evidence
HAMILTON, ON -- In an opening submission to the Maher Arar inquiry, the Law Union of Ontario has asked that all material offered by CSIS and the RCMP be viewed with “…a healthy dose of suspicion” Maher Arar was deported to and tortured in Syria last year. The present inquiry is examining the roll Canadian officials played in these events.
While Law Union representatives question the validity of CSIS’s track record in obtaining evidence, Toronto Lawyer Barbra Jackman fights to even look at evidence against her client Hassan Almrei.
Almrei has been held in solitary confinement for over two and a half years, without charge, without bail, and without access to CSIS and RCMP evidence against him. The Canadian government, which on one hand decries the torture dished out by Syrian officials on Maher Arar, on the other hand has been trying to deport Mr. Almrei back to Syria.
When contacted Arar commented on Almrei’s case saying “Given my experience, and what I lived through, and what I heard happening to other people in prison in Syria, I believe Mr. Almrei would face the same ordeal, if not worse. I still cannot believe that human beings treat human beings that way in Syrian prison”
In their opening submission to the Arar inquiry the Law Union or Ontario noted that they have had “years of experience with “national security” matters…As a result of that experience we have concluded that when the government makes the claim that "national security" is at issue such claims should be scrutinized with a high degree of skepticism.”
So is the claim with Hassan Almrei and the other four Muslim men locked up on Canada’s security certificates. ‘Evidence’ against these five men is not allowed to be seen or cross examined. CSIS and the RCMP believe viewing such evidence would be a breach of ‘national security’.
The Law Union of Ontario went onto state that it has received many documents from CSIS marked “Secret” or “Top Secret”. “We concluded that the use of those classifications often was to avoid embarrassment to the government and that there was no basis for the secrecy markings.”
The submission goes on to list a litany of charges including CSIS overstepping its mandate, hiding investigations from the RCMP, destroying or lying about evidence, and not disclosing information that had been disclosed in other proceedings.
“In a number of cases before the Federal Court and/or SIRC it was the opinion of the Law Union lawyers involved in those cases that CSIS agents were not well informed, or well trained, that they relied on dubious and/or unreliable sources of information and that they did not understand the culture or political dynamics of the community they had under surveillance.”
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