Adil Charkaoui

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Adil Charkaoui
Born 1974
Arrested 2003
Montreal, Canada
Royal Canadian Mounted Police security officials
Citizenship Canada
Charge(s) supporting terrorism
Status Held, in Canada, on a "Minister's Security Certificate".

Adil Charkaoui (in Arabic عادل الشرقاوي born 1974) is a Morocco-born Canadian citizen who was arrested by the Canadian government under a security certificate in May 2003.[1]

Before issuing the certificate, evidence was submitted that he had trained in an anti-Soviet Jihadist camp in Afghanistan. The court was also not satisfied with his reasons for visiting Pakistan for six months in 1990. Evidence that he practiced Karate was also among the submissions. Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) testimonies included opinions that he would also "have been trained in such areas as: operating rocket-propelled grenade-launchers, sabotage, urban and assassination." CSIS also alleged that "[i]t was noteworthy that one of those who participated in the hijacking of [the September 11 attacks in 2001] had taken martial arts training in preparation..." and suggested that Charkaoui represented a sleeper agent.[2] This led to the issuance of the security certificate by the two responsible government ministers after which he was detained, and such evidence was also enough to uphold the certificate by Federal Court upon review.

Personal history[edit]

Born in Morocco in 1973, Charkaoui joined his sister and parents in moving to Montreal, Quebec in 1995.

He graduated with an MA from Université de Montréal and is a French teacher. He is married and has three children.

In 1998, he flew to Pakistan to study religion for a book he was hoping to write;[3] the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) believes he slipped across the border into Afghanistan and attended Khalden training camp under the name Zubeir Al-Magrebi, although he denies the allegation.[4] According to friends, he knew Raouf Hannachi well enough that the two would "shake hands when they crossed paths".[4]

The government later stated that he had not accounted for "a period of his life, from 1992 to the end of that decade".[2]

Arrest and release[edit]

Adil Charkaoui is represented in a 2004 protest outside the Toronto office of CSIS.

Charkaoui was arrested under a security certificate in May 2003, which was co-signed by Solicitor General Wayne Easter, and Immigration Minister Denis Coderre.[5] He was detained without charge or trial in Rivière des prairies Detention Centre. The Coalition Justice for Adil Charkaoui was formed in defense of his rights, with Coalition launching a campaign for his release.

He was released from prison on C$50,000 bail on 18 February 2005. His bail conditions included a curfew, electronic monitoring, designated chaperones for leaving his home, restriction to the island of Montreal, 24-hour police access to his home without warrant, and a prohibition on access to the internet, on the use of cell phones and on the use of any telephone except the one in his home.

Restrictions on his conditional release were gradually lifted to be cancelled in September 2009.[6] He has opened a lawsuit against the Canadian government demanding compensation for wrongful arrest and detention. He continues to live in Montreal, with his wife and three children. He is a spokesman for the Quebec Collective Against Islamophobia,[6] an advocacy rights group established in 2013.

Court challenges[edit]

Charkaoui has consistently denied the allegations against him and has challenged the legitimacy of the security certificate regime. Canadian authorities and the Federal Court have refused to disclose the case against Charkaoui, relying on provisions in the security certificate process that allow evidence to be kept from the defence and the public.

Charkaoui's certificate has not undergone a court review and thus has not been upheld. The case has been suspended since March 2005, pending a new decision on protection by the Minister of Immigration.

Charkaoui has been at the centre of a public campaign against the extension of state power in the name of the "war on terror". In February 2006, Amnesty International reminded Canada, "His fundamental right to liberty and security of the person accords him the right to due process or release from the restrictive bail conditions that have been imposed on him."

In February 2007, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision of Charkaoui v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) on the appeals Charkaoui, Hassan Almrei, and Mohamed Harkat. The Court ruled that the certificate process violated sections 7, 9 and 10 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and struck down the security certificate legislation (sections 33 and 77 to 85 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act). However, the judgment will not take effect for one year.

In March 2007, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a second challenge by Charkaoui, this time relating to the destruction of evidence in Charkaoui's case. Government lawyers revealed in January 2005 that CSIS had destroyed evidence in Charkaoui's file. The situation raised concerns about the accuracy of the secret evidence before the court. The Supreme Court will hear the challenge in January 2008.

In April 2007, Charkaoui submitted a leave to appeal to the Supreme Court in a third challenge; in this instance to the law permitting deportation of non-citizens when there is a risk of torture. The Canadian government's position is that legal safeguards against being sent to torture do not apply to people who are subject to a security certificate, basing this policy on their interpretation of the 2002 Supreme Court Suresh decision. Charkaoui is challenging the legal framework permitting deportation to torture, the lack of due process, as well as the fact of being subject to the threat of deportation to torture and excessive procedural delays.

A CSIS agent identified only as J.P., the Deputy Chief of Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation in the Ottawa Regional Office as of 2005, testified against the petitions for release by Hassan Almrei, Mahmoud Jaballah and Charkaoui.[7]

In May 2013 federal prosecutors produced evidence that Charkaoui may have been plotting a terrorist attack in the Montreal metro in 2002. The memo also mentions CSIS surveillance where Charkaoui was spotted stealing valuables from parked cars.[8]

Ahmed Ressam withdraws his allegations[edit]

Fabrice de Pierrebourg of the Journal de Montreal testified in Federal Court on August 22, 2007 that, in correspondence, Ahmed Ressam had withdrawn his allegations against Adil Charkaoui.[9] De Pierrebourg had written to Ahmed Ressam in the course of writing a book about terrorism in Montreal.

Ressam was convicted in the United States and held under an unusual arrangement whereby he was offered a reduced sentence in exchange for information. Under this arrangement, over a period of some years, he fingered 130 people as "members" of the "extremist Islamist network linked to Bin Laden". Two cases in the United States were dismissed after Ressam's evidence proved worthless. Earlier in Charkaoui's case, Charkaoui's lawyer introduced an arrest warrant for Ahmed Ressam for an incident that occurred in Montreal at a time when Ressam claimed, under oath in another case, to have been in a training camp in Afghanistan. Ressam is known to have suffered a mental breakdown while in prison.

After learning that Mr. Ressam was supposed to have named him, Charkaoui repeatedly asked to be able to cross-examine him in court, but the motion was not granted.

In the original charges against Charkaoui, two government ministers mistakenly referred to martial arts having been used by a hijacker aboard "American Airlines Flight 93", a mistaken reference likely meant to refer to United Airlines 93 or American Airlines Flight 11.[2]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c Federal Court of Canada, Charkaoui (Re) (F.C.), 2003 FC 882, 2003-04
  3. ^ Sherene H.Razack "Casting Out: The Eviction of Muslims from Western Law & Politics", 2008. p.55
  4. ^ a b Bell, Stewart. National Post, "Dozens of Canadians join Jihad Terror Camps", October 25, 2003
  5. ^ The Guardian, "Montreal Man Suspected of Terror Links", May 24, 2003
  6. ^ a b Montreal Gazette: Anti-charter rallies going ahead in Park Ex, Quebec
  7. ^ Lemieux, Justice. "Hassan Almrei and the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and the Minister of Public Safety. ""Reasons for Judgment and Judgment", October 5, 2007
  8. ^ Adil Charkaoui soupçonné par le SCRS
  9. ^ "Charkaoui witness recants, reporter tells court". CBC. August 22, 2007. Retrieved 2013-11-05. 

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