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.
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.
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 ).
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.
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.