Trudeau brother asks not to deport alleged Al-Qaeda sleeper

The brother of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has asked Canada's public safety minister to intervene to halt the deportation of an Algerian man accused of being an Al-Qaeda sleeper agent.

PTI| Last Updated: Mar 03, 2016, 01:28 AM IST

Ottawa: The brother of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has asked Canada's public safety minister to intervene to halt the deportation of an Algerian man accused of being an Al-Qaeda sleeper agent.

Alexandre Trudeau urged the government in a letter to quash its own order to deport Mohamed Harkat, a 47-year-old former pizza delivery man who has been fighting for more than a decade to stay in Canada.

The documentary filmmaker has long supported Harkat, reportedly offering in 2005 to act as his surety in a bail application, while steadfastly opposing a provision of Canada's immigration law used to detain him.

The seldom-used national security measure allows tribunals to be held in secrecy and indefinite jailing without charge of foreigners suspected of terror ties. It has been at the center of a post-911 legal and political shakeup in Canada that has pitted security advocates against champions of civil liberties.

In a letter to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale published in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper, Alexandre Trudeau said the so-called security certificates are "fundamentally unfair."
"I am absolutely convinced that at this moment, he (Harkat) poses no danger whatsoever to the public or to public safety in Canada, but rather offers a positive commitment to the life he has created here."

A spokesman for Goodale confirmed receipt of the letter and its contents, but declined to comment on the request for leniency.

Harkat was first detained in 2002 on suspicion of links to Al-Qaeda, and spent nearly four years in jail before being released under strict bail conditions.

He has denied terror links, claiming he fled Algeria over a crackdown on a political party to which he belonged, the now-defunct and banned Islamic Salvation Front (FIS).
But Canadian courts ruled he was likely an Al-Qaeda sleeper agent and a security threat.

The original security law used to prosecute Harkat was struck down in 2007 as unjust. But a tweaked version meant to ensure better legal representation of defendants was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2014.