TORONTO - A Federal Court of Canada judge will rule today that Ernst Zundel poses a threat to national security and is to remain in prison while the court considers the government's deportation case against him.
Lawyers for the Holocaust denier have argued he has never advocated violence against minorities, but in rejecting the bail application Justice Pierre Blais wrote: "Mr. Zundel wields much more power within the right-wing, extremist and violent movement known as the White Supremacist Movement ... than he lets on."
The 19-page ruling, a copy of which was obtained by the National Post, will be presented in a Toronto court this morning at a hearing to determine the validity of the government's deportation order. Mr. Zundel, 64, is being held on a rarely used national-security certificate, which the government can issue when it deems a person a threat to Canadian security.
Security-certificate cases are unusual because the government does not have to publicly disclose all of its evidence, and Judge Blais said this secret intelligence was a factor in his ruling.
The government "has provided considerable evidence, that cannot be disclosed for reasons of national security, that Mr. Zundel has extensive contacts within the violent racist and extremist movements," Judge Blais wrote.
"Mr. Zundel may deny that he advocates violence, but he cannot deny that he espouses the same ideas as extremist violent groups," he added, noting the secret evidence suggests "Mr. Zundel in many cases pulls the strings that lead to violent actions."
The fact the case against him is a secret is precisely why Mr. Zundel's detention is a violation of the Charter of Rights, his lawyer said after the judge's ruling was released yesterday.
"It's a bit like trying to grab smoke," Peter Lindsay said. "I'm in the dark totally."
Donald McIntosh, the lead Department of Justice lawyer arguing the matter, said last night he would not comment on the decision.
Bernie Farber, executive director of the Canadian Jewish Congress, said he was pleased by the ruling and hopes it "will serve to hasten the process that will see Mr. Zundel removed from Canada."
Mr. Zundel was jailed when he claimed refugee status in February, when he was deported to Canada from the United States for overstaying his visitor's visa, and Ottawa declared him a security threat in May.
Mr. Zundel, who had lived in Canada since 1958, had fled to Tennessee to be with his wife before a 2002 ruling by the Canadian Human Rights Commission that a Web site he controlled spread anti-Semitic messages.
The Canadian government plans to deport Mr. Zundel to his native Germany, where he faces a charge of inciting hatred.
In a letter to supporters, Paul Fromm, Director of the Canadian Association for Free Expression, an organization backing Mr. Zundel, yesterday appealed for help to cover their legal fees.
"November and December have been very expensive months for the Zundel case. We have spent just over $50,000.... January promises to be an expensive month, with four days planned in Federal Court," the e-mail said.
"The Defence Fund is very seriously depleted and we face major outlays in the New Year."
The hearing on the security certificate is to continue tomorrow. But Mr. Lindsay said he wants it postponed so he can appeal an earlier Superior Court ruling that also upheld the constitutionality of Mr. Zundel's detention as well as the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the law under which he is being detained.