Families fight detainee bill

The wife of a terrorism suspect arrested in Ottawa this week offered her support yesterday to families who called on the government to scrap Bill C-3.


The wife of a terrorism suspect arrested in Ottawa this week offered her support yesterday to families who called on the government to scrap Bill C-3.


“We all share the same concerns and the same violations of privacy,” said Sophie Harkat, who joined the family members of security certificate detainees on Parliament Hill yesterday to oppose the bill. “We’re all Canadians and we suffer the consequences of this bill.”


Harkat said she’d visited her husband, Mohamed Harkat, yesterday after Ottawa Police and Canadian Border Services Agency officers arrested him at his home on Tuesday for alleged breach of bail conditions. He is being held at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre and appears in Supreme Court at 9:30 a.m. today.


“His morale is pretty good,” she said. “He’s holding up.”


Harkat, an Algerian refugee, had been released on bail with strict conditions in June 2006, more than three years after being arrested on a federal security certificate. The group wants the government to abolish security certificates and use the Criminal Code to press their cases.


Ahmad Jaballah, whose father, Mahmoud, was arrested on a security certificate, likened the practice to “taking a whole family and putting them in prison.”


Released last April, Mahmood Jaballah is required to have his wife or eldest son with him 24 hours a day.


“If you have evidence against them, charge them and give them a fair and open trial where they can see the evidence and respond to it,” said Jaballah.


“We’re here with families of men who have been detained unfairly over the years,” said Mary Foster, a member of the Coalition for Adil Charkaoui Foster. “Don’t condemn them to more years of fear and injustice.”


If Bill C-3 goes through, it will mean that detainees can be indefinitely detained at home or in prison without trial or being charged.


Mona El Fouli, whose husband Mohamed Mahjoub was detained, said the security certificate violates not only his rights, but affects the lives of her children. “I’m a Canadian citizen and my kids are Canadian citizens,” she said.


Jaballah called on MPs to reflect on their actions before voting. “You’re destroying families and lives for years to come and are imprisoning them in their own houses.”

 
 
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