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Canada judge quashes security certificate against alleged terror suspect

[JURIST] A judge for the Canadian Federal Court [official website] on Monday struck down a security certificate [IRPA text; PSC Backgrounder] that deemed Syrian-born Toronto resident Hassan Almrei a threat to national security. The security certificate law, which is used to arrest and deport non-Canadians considered threats to national security, has become controversial in recent years because it relies on evidence heard in secret, and detainees are not informed in full detail of the allegations against them. Almrei was arrested more than eight years ago by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) [official website] on terror suspicions. Justice Richard Mosley concluded [CP report] that the evidence presented by CSIS did not hold up under scrutiny, and admonished both CSIS and the federal ministers of public safety and immigration for breaching their duties of good faith by not thoroughly reviewing their information before issuing the certificate. The court issued a private opinion regarding the information and evidence heard in private sessions, which will only be released to the ministers and special advocates.

The ruling is the latest assault on the certificate program. Earlier this week, it was reported that the Canadian government has begun reviewing [JURIST report] its security certificate system. Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan [official profile] said the government is considering making significant changes to the law or abolishing it completely. In September, the government withdrew [Globe and Mail report] a certificate against Moroccan-born Montrealer, Adil Charkaoui, in lieu of subjecting its evidence against him to review in court.

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