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Canada court urged to overturn 'unconstitutional' anti-terror law

[JURIST] A lawyer for Momin Khawaja [CBC backgrounder], the first person charged [JURIST report] under Canada's Anti-Terrorism Act [text; CBC backgrounder], urged an Ontario Superior Court judge Tuesday to strike down the anti-terror legislation because it is unconstitutionally vague and violates several provisions of the Canadian Charter on Rights and Freedoms [text]. In a second day of arguments, Lawrence Greenspon told the court that the anti-terror legislation, passed after the Sept. 11 attacks, was rushed through parliament and was a "mockery of parliamentary legislation." Greenspon argued that the law is "so broad and vague in scope that a vast array of activities that nobody would perceive to be terrorism-related risk being caught under these provisions" and violates multiple charter rights, including freedoms of religion, association and expression.

Khawaja, the Canadian-born son of Pakistani immigrants, was arrested in March 2004 and is accused of knowingly participating in or contributing to the activities of a terrorist group and of knowingly facilitating a terrorist activity. His trial is scheduled to begin in January. Canadian Press has more. CanWest News has additional coverage.

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