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Inside Gitmo North

Exclusive: After being held without charge for five years, terrorism suspect Mahmoud Jaballah speaks out from the special, high-security facility built just for him and two others near Kingston

Michelle Shephard, Toronto Star, January 06, 2007

Milhaven Prison which housed Guantanamo North

In neat handwriting that fills three pages are Mahmoud Jaballah’s complaints about daily life inside this $3.2 million portable surrounded by barbed wire that was built for him and two other Toronto terrorism suspects.

He fidgets with the paper on the desk in front of him while he speaks quickly during an interview this week inside the holding centre west of Kingston, dubbed “Guantanamo North” by its critics. A guard sits beside him, staring straight ahead.

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“Killing us slowly”

Mahmoud Jaballah remains in legal limbo

CURTIS RUSH, Toronto Star, Oct. 19, 2006.

What does a real spy look like?

A small number of people in Federal Court in Toronto got to see for themselves during the bail hearing for accused Egyptian terrorist Mahmoud Jaballah.

If you didn’t know he was an intelligence officer for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, you would have thought he was a businessman.

He didn’t come into court with a trench coat, sunglasses and floppy hat to cover his face.

Looking about 35 years old, the CSIS agent had closely cropped dark hair, wore wire-rimmed glasses and a crisp blue suit and carried a briefcase. Nothing in his dress or demeanour brought attention to himself.

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Jaballah falls ill after hunger strike

Brett Popplewell, Canada.com, May 25, 2006

Supporters in New York during a later
hunger strike, in 2007

One of three terror suspects (sic) detained by Canadian immigration officials for nearly five years has developed breathing problems during a hunger strike to protest his living conditions, his supporters said Thursday.

Mahmoud Jaballah, one of the detainees being held on a national security certificate in Kingston, Ont., is in poor health, said his 19-year-old son, Ahmad Jaballah, who spoke with his father by phone Thursday morning.

“This morning they put him under the emergency unit,” he said. “He had trouble breathing for about two hours. His health is just deteriorating.”

The Canadian Border Services Agency declined to comment on Jaballah’s health or the condition of the other detainees, citing privacy issues.

Jaballah, Mohammad Mahjoub and Hassan Almrei began a hunger strike May 22 at the Kingston Immigration Holding Centre. (JfJ: in fact, Almrei began on May 13th and the other two on May 23)

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Audio: Ahmad Jaballah

” … we as a family we came here in this country for one specific reason: which is to live a peaceful life … my parents came here with one idea in mind which is to have a place to live in a peaceful society, to raise their children in a society where they wouldn’t have to experience what they experienced back home. And we came to this country with the basic view in mind that this country respects everyone’s rights and does not judge people or discriminate against people based on their colour, race or religion.” – Testimony by Ahmad Jaballah at People’s Commission hearings, May 2003.

Listen to his full testimony here.


Interview with Mahmoud Jaballah

Interview with Mahmoud Jaballah in May 2006 by Montreal photographer Darren Ell. To listen to podcast, click here.


NDP Calls for Abolition of Security Certificates

In January 2005, the NDP unanimously adopted a resolution calling for the abolition of security certificates.

Read the NDP resolution here.


UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Report

In June 2005, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention visited Canada. They interviewed the men who were detained under a security certificate.

Read excerpts from their report here.


United Nations Human Rights Committee on Security Certificates

The UN Human Rights Committee reviewed Canadian compliance with the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 2005. They found Canada’s security certificate procedure very much lacking.

Read excerpts from their November 2005 report on Canada here.


United Nations Committee Against Torture

The United Nations Committee Against Torture reviewed Canadian compliance with the UN Convention against Torture in 2005. They expressed strong concerns about Canada’s security certificate process.

Read UN CAT Report on Canada from May 2005.


Canadian Arab Federation Statement in support of Mahmoud Jaballah

2002/08/23

Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) joined the family of Mahmoud Jaballah, represented by his lawyer Rocco Galati, in a press conference in Toronto this morning. Mr. Jaballah, a native of Egypt and a refugee claimant in Canada, has been in detention and solitary confinement for over a year because of a CSIS-issued Security Certificate. This was the second such certificate to be issued against Mr. Jaballah by CSIS, based on the same allegations as the first one which had landed him in detention for seven months in 1999 and was later quashed by a federal court. Following is the statement delivered by Amina Sherazee, CAF Legal Counsel, at the conference.

Considering Canada’s stated commitment to the protection of those who are subject to death and torture, to protect and promote the rights of women and children by fostering respect for human rights, the Canadian Arab Federation joins the Jaballah family in calling upon the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to end the relentless persecution f Mahmoud Jaballah.

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