Mohamed Harkat Could Remain in Canada “Indefinitely”

As reported by CBC News Thursday May 15, 2014 – “The risk of Mohamed Harkat being deported and tortured in his home country of Algeria could keep the terror suspect in Canada indefinitely”. The court ruled that returning an individual to where they faced torture or death was unconstitutional and a violation of international human rights obligations. It is for this reason Harkat may possibly remain in Canada, despite a Supreme Court of Canada decision upholding a national security certificate called the “exceptional circumstances” which deports non-Canadians who are considered to pose a serious threat to Canada..

Harkat, who was arrested in 2002 and accused of being an al-Qaeda sleeper agent, has claimed that he faces torture or death if returned to Algeria. In 2002, the Supreme Court faced a similar case also involving an individual who had been issued a security certificate and who faced deportation. Despite the Supreme Court upholding the security certificate against Harkat, which makes him inadmissible in Canada, the government may not be able to deport him.

Toronto immigration lawyer Michael Niren said; “They shouldn’t make a decision based on political considerations,” he said. “Usually the minister’s delegate will defer to the assessments.”

Even if Harkat’s application to stay in Canada was approved, he could not apply for permanent residency, owing to the security certificate. “He would most likely apply for a temporary resident permit that would allow him to remain in Canada, despite his inadmissibility” Niren added.

“[The temporary resident permit] always has an expiry date,” Niren said. “Meaning that depending on the duration he gets, he will likely have to have to apply for extensions indefinitely.” Michael Niren concluded that “conceivably, Harkat could stay in Canada indefinitely”.

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Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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