Toronto Star

Al­low him to stay here

MAH­MOUD JABALLAH This is same man who was found to be cred­i­ble and had prior se­cu­rity cer­tifi­cate against him thrown out

- Crime · Canada News · Egypt · Canada · United States of America · United Kingdom · Syria · Toronto · Center for Strategic and International Studies

Re Moral choice on ter­ror Edi­to­rial, Oct. 19.

I wel­come the de­ci­sion not to de­port Mah­moud Jaballah to tor­ture in Egypt, but it’s un­fair to de­clare he should even­tu­ally be re­moved from Canada. I have known Jaballah and his fam­ily for more than five years and he does not in any way re­sem­ble the scary in­di­vid­ual out­lined in bare-bones CSIS al­le­ga­tions.

The Fed­eral Court up­held a se­cu­rity cer­tifi­cate against Jaballah largely based on se­cret “ev­i­dence” that nei­ther Jaballah nor his lawyers can see or cross-ex­am­ine. There is no ap­peal of the de­ci­sion, and no charge is ever laid.

The stan­dards of “proof” are the low­est of any court in Canada (“rea­son­able grounds to be­lieve” cer­tain things may be true) and the leg­is­la­tion specif­i­cally states that any­thing not nor­mally ad­miss­able in a court of law can be en­tered in one of these pro­ceed­ings. In other words, we are no longer in a court of law.

And so it was that straight-faced gov­ern­ment lawyers re­cently named Jaballah a “com­mu­ni­ca­tions re­lay ex­pert” be­cause he wasted no time in get­ting a phone hooked up in his first apart­ment, bor­rowed a cell­phone to stay in touch with his preg­nant wife, “pro­cured” a fax ma­chine and surfed the In­ter­net. If that’s the ba­sis for sus­pi­cion, Canada’s 600,000-plus Mus­lims should, in an abun­dance of cau­tion, re­vert to smoke sig­nals or train in telepa­thy to stay in touch with fam­ily and friends.

This is the same Jaballah who was found to be cred­i­ble and had a prior cer­tifi­cate against him thrown out in 1999. Two years later, he was re-ar­rested and CSIS ad­mit­ted in the open por­tion of the se­cret hear­ing that it had no new ev­i­dence against him, only a “new in­ter­pre­ta­tion” of old ev­i­dence that was pre­vi­ously dis­missed.

If the al­le­ga­tions against Jaballah had any fac­tual ba­sis, why hasn’t he been sought by the U.S. or Bri­tain to face charges? The U.S. is not shy about round­ing up peo­ple, even if the case against them is weak.

Most fright­en­ing, in light of the Ma­her Arar in­quiry, is the heavy reliance in these cases on Cana­dian “in­tel­li­gence” agents who have lit­tle or no train­ing and base their cases on re­cy­cled news­pa­per ar­ti­cles. As the Star re­ported dur­ing Jaballah’s re­cent bail hear­ing, a high-level CSIS of­fi­cial was “too busy” to read the 9/11 Com­mis­sion re­port on in­tel­li­gence fail­ures, in­clud­ing those sec­tions that dealt with Canada. The of­fi­cer also re­fused to con­firm that tor­ture takes place in Syria and Egypt, even af­ter the find­ing that such hor­rid acts are sys­tem­atic by Jus­tice Den­nis O’Con­nor of the Arar In­quiry.

Un­til we re­turn to court-of-law stan­dards with re­spect to any “national se­cu­rity’’ al­le­ga­tions, it is grossly un­fair for the Toronto Star to draw such dras­tic con­clu­sions about Jaballah or any­one else sub­ject to this me­dieval process. Matthew Behrens, Toronto

 ?? DAR­REN ELL PHOTO ?? Mah­moud Jaballah, de­tained un­der a fed­eral se­cu­rity cer­tifi­cate since April 2001, will not be de­ported to Egypt to face tor­ture.
DAR­REN ELL PHOTO Mah­moud Jaballah, de­tained un­der a fed­eral se­cu­rity cer­tifi­cate since April 2001, will not be de­ported to Egypt to face tor­ture.

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