Canadian Anti-Terrorism Law News
The court said the men, who are accused of having ties to al-Qaeda, have the right to see and respond to evidence against them. It pointed to a law in Britain that allows special advocates or lawyers to see sensitive intelligence material, but not share details with their clients.
In its ruling, the court said while it’s important to protect Canada’s national security, the government can do more to protect individual rights.
But the court suspended the judgment from taking legal effect for a year, giving Parliament time to write a new law complying with constitutional principles.
Critics have long denounced the certificates, which can lead to deportation of non-citizens on the basis of secret intelligence presented to a Federal Court judge at closed-door hearings.
Those who fight the allegations can spend years in jail while the case works its way through the legal system. In the end, they can sometimes face removal to countries with a track record of torture, say critics.
And that’s not the only piece of good news from Canada. Two provisions from an anti-terrorism law passed at the end of 2001 were due to expire at the end of February. The House of Commons has voted against extending them:
One of the anti-terrorism measures allows police to arrest suspects without a warrant and detain them for three days without charges, provided police believe a terrorist act may be committed. The other measure allows judges to compel witnesses to testify in secret about past associations or pending acts. The witnesses could go to jail if they don’t comply.
The two measures, introduced by a previous Liberal government in 2001, have never been used.
“These two provisions especially have done nothing to fight against terrorism,” Dion said Tuesday. “[They] have not been helpful and have continued to create some risk for civil liberties.”
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