TORONTO: An Egyptian refugee claimant detained for five years without charge as a suspected terrorist ought to remain behind bars because he still poses a critical threat to public safety, a government prosecutor said Tuesday.
In urging that Mahmoud Jaballah be denied bail for a third time, prosecutor Donald MacIntosh argued that no court-imposed conditions would be stringent enough to contain the risk.
He is a danger to national security, MacIntosh told Federal Court Justice Andrew MacKay. No terms and conditions could neutralize the threat. Jaballah, 43, a married father of six, has been in detention under an unprecedented second national security certificate since August 2001. He has long denied having any links to terrorism.
National security certificates are issued under Canadian immigration law. They allow the government to detain suspects deemed a threat to national security, without trial or evidence.
Human rights activists deplore the program, saying it violates Canada s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
MacIntosh spent much of the hearing s second day prodding Jaballah about his acquaintances and his contacts with the London-based International Office for the Defence of Egyptian People after his arrival in Canada in 1996.
Jaballah, speaking via video link from an eastern Ontario detention center, said he was simply looking for help with his refugee claim, but MacIntosh charged the group was a front for the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist organization closely linked to Al-Qaeda. Defense lawyer Barbara Jackman said there was no evidence to support MacIntosh s claim.
Jaballah said he would never have contacted the London group had he known it to have terrorist links. I have nothing in common with these people, he said.
Swept up in Egypt s mass crackdown on Muslim extremism in 1981 after the assassination of President Anwar Sadat, Jaballah was detained seven times.He was never charged with any crime but spent four years in jail in Egypt over the following decade.
Although he has not been allowed to see the evidence against him, Jaballah argues that Canadian security officials have relied on bad information from Cairo.
Jaballah, who claimed refugee status in Canada in 1996, says he will be tortured or killed if sent back to Egypt, a country with documented human-rights violations.
Pending the outcome of his battle to remain in Canada, Jaballah s lawyers argue that stringent bail conditions and other measures, such as electronic tracking bracelets, would ensure public safety.
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service also objects to granting Jaballah bail. Jaballah is a well connected member of an international network of high profile extremist individuals, some of whom have been involved in the planning and execution of terrorist acts, the agency said in a brief to the court.
It is the opinion of (CSIS) that the release of Jaballah will place him in a position to recommence previous contacts within this milieu. Jaballah s lawyer, Paul Copeland, called those allegations nonsense.
Supporters, including former Iraq hostage James Loney, are prepared to pledge up to $140,000 Canadian as sureties for Jaballah.
The hearing continues Wednesday, when Jaballah s wife and oldest son are expected to testify.