Muslim Council of Montreal hails Supreme Court ruling on security certificates
Ruling is a victory for Canada, victory for human rights and freedoms

February 23, 2007

Montreal, Quebec, Feb. 23rd, 2007- The Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM) applauds the Supreme Court of Canada ruling that strikes down the use of security certificate in Canada, declaring it unconstitutional.

“Security certificates are an affront to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” said Salam Elmenyawi, president of MCM. “Global terrorism must be fought, but we must make clear that secret court hearings, secret undisclosed evidence, indefinite detention and deportation to torture are not part of the fight against terrorism. These acts are themselves a threat to our safety and are an attack on freedom.”

“This is a great day for Canada, it is a victory for all Canadians, for human rights and freedoms, for civil liberties and for justice.”

MCM thanks the honourable justices of the Supreme Court of Canada for delivering this decision in a unanimous vote. MCM believes the ruling sends a clear and stern warning to the Harper government, in addition to all countries of the world, that justice and human rights are not to be compromised in the name of security.

By the abolishment of the current security certificate law, today the credibility and integrity of our justice system, which encourages self-policing, is in the process of being restored. However, MCM warns that any future implementation of a so-called “special advocate” to defend the accused behind closed doors, without the defendant’s full knowledge of the evidence, would be in breach of the right to a fair hearing and prevents the accused from “contradicting errors, identify omissions, challenge the credibility of the informants or refute false allegations,” as stated in the judgment.

Such flawed process would be nothing more than a fig leaf to cover up the lack of fundamental justice. Furthermore, the Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin wrote in the judgment: “The right to a fair hearing comprises the right to a hearing before an independent and impartial magistrate who must decide on facts and the law, the right to know the case put against one, and the right to answer the case.”

“National security is a matter that concerns us all,” Elmenyawi said. “However the rule of law is the bedrock of our society and the foundation of our democracy, we cannot stay silent when fundamental justice is abandoned and when the rule of law is ignored.”

MCM urges our government to release the men currently detained on security certificates and hopes for their safe return home to their families.