Advocate warns Ottawa man faces serious mistreatment if deported

OTTAWA -- Amnesty International says an Ottawa man faces serious mistreatment if he is returned to his native Algeria.

Mohamed Harkat, a former pizza delivery man, was taken into custody 13 years ago on suspicion of being an al Qaeda sleeper agent -- an accusation he denies.

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The federal government has been trying to deport the Algerian refugee on a national security certificate -- a seldom-used tool in immigration law for removing non-citizens suspected of extremism or espionage.

Hilary Homes of Amnesty's Canadian wing says people suspected of terrorism-related offences are often detained by the Algerian security forces and denied contact with the outside world, sometimes for prolonged periods.

Harkat's lawyers have long argued the security certificate process is unfair because the person facing deportation doesn't see the full case against them.

The Supreme Court of Canada upheld the certificate against Harkat last year and the government has since taken initial steps toward removing him.



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