In support of prisoners and prison justice activism in Canada
Guantanamo North Opens, Holding Four Security Certificate Prisoners

Canada opens new prison facility for security suspects
April 24, 2006
CBC News

Canada's newest prison facility welcomed its first new inmates on Monday - all of them suspected militants.

Its critics call it "Guantanamo north." In reality it is a brand-new facility on the grounds of Millhaven Penitentiary in Bath, near Kingston, Ont., and it is designed to house suspects being held under Canada's new security certificates.

On Monday, Mohamed Harkat, an Algerian Canadian who was being held in Ottawa, along with Egyptians Mohammad Mahjoub and Mahmoud Jaballah and Syrian Hassan Almrei, who were all in a Toronto jail, were moved to the new prison.

All the men are being detained under security certificates, which allow authorities to hold someone who isn't a Canadian citizen, under unusual conditions.

The men are suspected of having links to militant organizations, but they haven't been formally charged, and their lawyers can't see the evidence against them.

Canada's system of security certificates is controversial and the Supreme Court will hear arguments about whether they are constitutional later this spring.

But Canada's Border Services Agency, which enforces the security certificates, decided not to wait until the June hearings.

Amnesty International says it is concerned that the new facility means security certificates are here to stay.

"Clearly the fact that the government has decided to build this new institution suggests that they think security certificates in and of themselves are going to continue to be a permanent part of Canada's security measures," said Alex Neve, spokesman for the human rights organization.

Last week, Mohamed Harkat was told his transfer was imminent, but was not told when it would happen.

His wife said she got word that he was moved out at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, without notice.

"We are now in situation of not knowing how it is going to be for him there," said his lawyer Paul Copeland. "If he is in total isolation it is going to be very difficult for him."


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