Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Abuses Warrant Tossing Case against Suspected Egyptian Terrorist, Court Urged

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Abuses Warrant Tossing Case against Suspected Egyptian Terrorist, Court Urged

Article excerpt

End case against accused terrorist, court urged


TORONTO - The case against an Egyptian man long branded a terrorist threat has been riddled with so many problems over the years that a judge should have ended the proceedings, Federal Court of Appeal heard Wednesday.

Instead, his lawyer argued, Judge Edmond Blanchard upheld the national security certificate imposed on Mohamed Mahjoub despite finding the government had violated his rights.

"The remedies provided in relation to the violations found by Justice Blanchard were inadequate," Mahjoub's lawyer Paul Slansky said.

"He found there was an unfair trial. Once you find an unfair trial, it's game over."

Mahjoub, 56, of Toronto, has been in prison or under severe restrictions since the government first decided in 2000 -- based in part on secret evidence supplied by foreign agencies linked to torture -- that he posed a threat to Canada's national security.

Among other things, Canada's spy agency alleged Mahjoub was a leading member of the Egyptian terror group Vanguards of Conquest, and a trusted associate of former terrorist mastermind, Osama bin Laden -- accusations Mahjoub has always denied.

The current two-day hearing consolidates three separate appeals to his security certificate, which allows for detention or restrictions of foreign nationals without charge or trial. The government argues Blanchard's judgments were correct and the security certificate should stand.

Slansky told the panel the case has seen a series of abuses related to the reasonableness of the certificate; how the government obtained, preserved or handled evidence; and excessive delays in the proceedings. These violations individually or cumulatively warranted a stay, he said.

"The administration of justice is so seriously impacted by these, there can be no effective remedy short of a stay," Slansky said.

In all cases, Blanchard, who is now deceased, found the problems weren't serious enough to stay the proceedings or quash the certificate.

"There is simply no conspicuous evidence of improper motives, bad faith or an act so wrong that it violates the conscience of the community such that it would be genuinely unfair and indecent to proceed," Blanchard wrote in November 2013. …

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