international human rights day: mohamed harkat and indefinite detention

Today is International Human Rights Day, a day to work for and affirm human rights at home and abroad.

Today also marks 9 years since Mohamed Harkat, a Canadian citizen, was arrested under a so-called security certificate. Harkat spend 43 months in jail and was eventually released under the harshest bail conditions in Canadian history. Today, he still wears a GPS device on his ankle, one of many restrictions on his movements.

Harkat now faces deportation to his native Algeria, where he will be at great risk for imprisonment, torture and death.

Harkat has never been charged with a specific crime and has never seen the evidence against him. Harkat came to Canada in 1995, and was granted refugee status in 1997. CSIS claims Harkat is part of a terrorist sleeper cell, an allegation supposedly based on secret evidence that Harkat and his legal defense team have never been allowed to see. Is that the kind of justice system we want in Canada?

Harkat's wife, Sophie Harkat, fights tirelessly to keep her husband's case alive, both in the public eye and for funds for expensive court appeals. If you can help the Harkats, your support will go directly to their defense fund, but beyond that, it will help Canada become the advanced, enlightened, liberal nation Canadians believe it to be, not a nation that can detain and deport a law-abiding citizen without charge.

Please visit Justice for Harkat. Read, learn, share, and if you can, donate. At a minimum, please sign the statement against security certificates.

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Speaking of indefinite detention, I assume you have all heard of the most recent US human rights travesty: The National Defense Authorization Act, a bill that calls for permanent concentration camps, a la Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The bill gives the president - any US president - the power to order the military to pick up and imprison anyone, without charge or trial, anywhere in the world, including within the US. There is no exclusion for US citizens. The bill was drafted in secret and passed in a closed-door committee, without even a single hearing. It was, of course, a bipartisan effort.

Obama has said he will veto it. We shall see.

If this doesn't qualify for "fascist shift," I don't know what does. One perspective and many good links here.

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