Leaving Islam




The CSIS paper and the testimony of P.G. were made public during court hearings on the detention of Mohamed Harkat, a former Ottawa gas-station attendant and pizza delivery man who was arrested by Canadian authorities in December 2002 based on information gathered by the CSIS. After 9/11, Canada instituted new antiterror laws that gave the government power to expel foreign terror suspects based on secret intelligence information and to jail them without trial pending deportation hearings.

Lawyers for Harkat went to court to argue that their client should be released on bail, subject to electronic monitoring by authorities and tight control over his activities, while officials examine whether it would be appropriate to deport him to Algeria, where some say he could suffer human-rights abuse. In a similar case involving an alleged Islamic militant from Montreal, a judge ruled that the suspect could be released on bail while deportation proceedings continued. In Harkat’s case, however, a judge ruled that the suspect must remain in prison.

Barbara Campion, a spokeswoman for the CSIS, said her agency’s view is that Harkat is “such a threat that he shouldn’t be released” on bail. As to P.G.’s wider assertions that it was unsafe to ever release a jihadi militant, Campion noted that Canada only was detaining a handful of militants under its antiterror laws. She said that there might be a qualitative difference between the Canadian detainees (whom authorities believe could be truly dangerous terrorists) versus the hundreds of detainees at Guantanamo (many of whom were rounded up with Taliban forces in Afghanistan and may not pose a serious terrorist threat ).

While the Canadian government regarded them as dangerous, there might be a qualitative difference in the relative dangers posed by the release of the suspects held by Canada and the release by the U.S. government from the Guantanamo Bay detention center of captured suspects who fought with Taliban forces in Afghanistan rather than with Al Qaeda.

Two U.S. counterterror officials, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the subject, said that whatever the Canadians believe about the risks of releasing detained jihadis, the Bush administration was likely to continue to release detainees from detention who were not regarded as serious risks to resume terrorism, in full recognition that some of them might return to the battlefield.


<   back     next  > 







Articles Op-ed Authors Debates Leaving Islam FAQ
Comments Library Gallery Video Clips Books Sina's Challenge

  ©  copyright You may translate and publish the articles in this site only if you provide a link to the original page.