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Leak of defamatory information: A recurring nightmare

Coalition calls for public inquiry into second leak

by Coalition Justice for Adil Charkaoui


Montreal, 10 August 2011 -- The Coalition Justice for Adil Charkaoui is outraged by the leak of a secret document containing completely false allegations against Montrealer Adil Charkaoui, whose security certificate case was struck down in 2009. Noting that an almost identical leak happened in 2007, the Coalition is calling for a public inquiry and asking other Canadians to join it in challenging Minister Jason Kenney's unacceptable comments.

"These allegations are false and constitute a wholly unmerited attack on my reputation and my security," said Mr. Charkaoui. "I spent six years of my life proving my innocence in a secret court process when I didn't even know what I was accused of. After the federal court revoked the security certificate against me, I expressed the hope that I wouldn't spend the rest of my life as an 'ex-suspected'. Now, almost two years after the court cleared my name, I find myself again in the court of public opinion. This must stop."

"It's like a recurring nightmare. La Presse published the same story in 2007 following the leak of another secret document which contained the same unfounded allegations. That document was later submitted to court and, in a January 2008 decision, Justice Noel of the Federal Court of Canada found the allegations to be unsubstantiated; Justice Tremblay-Lamer arrived at the same conclusion in 2009. How many times do I have to clear myself of the same allegations?" asked the Montreal high school teacher and father of four.

"'We want a public inquiry into who is responsible for this leak and what the motivations were behind it," said Anna Malla, of the Coalition Justice for Adil Charkaoui. "We want to know what interests lie behind it; who is trying to manipulate the media and the public. The timing of this leak is highly suggestive, seeing that Mr. Charkaoui launched a lawsuit in 2009 to hold the government accountable for the abuse of his rights in the security certificate case. There are certain other indications that lead us to believe that high ranking officials may have been directly involved in this leak."
 
"In 2007, the RCMP announced they were launching a criminal inquiry into the leak of the secret document, and CSIS announced they were launching an internal inquiry. The results of those inquiries were never made public and no one was ever held accountable. Why not? This time we insist on a public inquiry," continued Mary Foster, another member of the Coalition.

"We also want Jason Kenney to explain his comments. Instead of condemning the leak, which was a criminal act, a violation - in his terms - of national security, and an attack on the security and reputation of two individuals, he used the leak to score political points and attempt to justify government abuses in the cases of these two men. If the courts have examined these allegations and been satisfied that they have no foundation, or if they are so hollow that they didn't even make it to court in the first place, what business is it of a cabinet minister's to announce that they constitute 'robust evidence'?" asked Foster.
 
"In any case, we have now seen the secret document the sensationalist La Presse piece was based on, and if this is what Mr. Kenney calls 'very robust evidence', he should consider sitting down with a Department of Justice lawyer to get straight on a few of the finer points of the legal system in this country. Frankly, it is dangerous to have someone like that in public office."

"His comments about 'political support groups' appear to be intended to silence public criticism of the government; to silence us. Well, they won't," added Foster. "We call on everyone in Canada to join us in sending a clear message to Mr. Kenney - through public statements, letters, press releases, public actions - that we will not be frightened into silence but will continue to fight for the rights of all."

-30-

Contact us: 514 222 0205

Coalition Justice for Adil Charkaoui
www.adilinfo.org

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