Canada court rejects Guantanamo detainees' bid to access intelligence records

[JURIST] The Federal Court of Canada [official website] Monday dismissed an application [decision, PDF] by two Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees requesting access to Canadian interrogation records. Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Mauritanian with landed immigrant status in Canada, and Ahcene Zemiri [NYT materials], an Algerian permanent resident of Canada, sought disclosure of records of interrogations conducted by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) [official websites] both in Canada and at Guantanamo Bay. Relying on the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada [official website] in Canada (Justice) v. Khadr [decision, PDF], and claiming protection under section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms [text], Slahi and Zemiri argued that Canada was obligated to turn over any materials which had been given to American authorities. The court distinguished this case from Khadr on the grounds that Omar Khadr [DOD materials; JURIST news archive] was a Canadian citizen and necessarily entitled to section 7 protections, where Slahi and Zemiri's connection to Canada was more tenuous.

the Charter, ... is a Canadian instrument enacted to enshrine and protect the fundamental rights of Canadians and those finding themselves within Canada’s territory. Its extraterritorial reach is exceptional and limited. ... This Court is not prepared to extend the Charter’s reach beyond that which has already been decided. The Applicants are not Canadian citizens. They have failed to establish the required connection to Canada. Consequently, their circumstances cannot engage a section 7 Charter right.
The men requested the disclosure in order to corroborate their allegations of mistreatment at Guantanamo Bay as part of an ongoing habeas corpus petition before the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website]. Lawyers for the men said that the habeas corpus proceedings would likely conclude before any appeal of this judgment could be heard.


 

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