A Syrian native held in Canada for more than eight years on a national security certificate [text; PSC backgrounder] on Tuesday sued the Canadian government [statement of claim, PDF] for negligence and false imprisonment. Hassan Almrei filed suit [CP report] in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice [official website] against the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and the Canada Border Services Agency [official websites] seeking $16 million in damages. Almrei was arrested more than eight years ago by the CSIS on terror suspicions. A judge struck down [JURIST report] his security certificate in December, finding that the evidence presented by CSIS did not hold up under scrutiny. Almrei came to Canada in 1999 on a false passport and attained refugee status the following year. He is currently seeking permanent resident status.
The security certificate law, used to arrest and deport non-Canadians considered threats to national security, has become controversial in recent years because it relies on evidence heard in secret, and detainees are not informed in full detail of the allegations against them. Earlier in December, it was reported that the Canadian government has begun reviewing [JURIST report] its security certificate system. Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan [official profile] said the government is considering making significant changes to the law or abolishing it completely. In September, the government withdrew [National Post report] a certificate against Moroccan-born Montreal resident Adil Charkaoui in lieu of subjecting its evidence against him to review in court. Charkaoui is also suing the government.