International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
October 19, 2018
ICLMG Submission to the UN Committee Against Torture
ICLMG 16/10/2018 - Canada’s report on its implementation of the Convention Against Torture will be examined by the United Nations’ Committee Against Torture (CAT) during its 65th session from November 12 to December 7, 2018. The ICLMG asserts that several Canadian policies, practices and cases contravene multiple provisions of the Convention Against Torture. We thus submitted a report to the CAT and urged the Committee to use it in formulating questions, comments, observations and recommendations in its evaluation of Canada’s report. Our report contains concerns regarding:
  • Anti-terrorism and national security legislation.
  • The security certificate regime – notably the urgent situation of Mohamed Harkat, who faces deportation to Algeria where he risks detention, torture and death.
  • The ministerial directives on information obtained through torture.
  • Consular services – notably the case of Canadian Abousfian Abdelrazik who was detained at the request of Canadian agents and allegedly tortured in Sudan, and who is currently attempting to obtain justice and redress through a civil suit that the federal government recently managed to delay indefinitely.
  • The extradition law – notably the case of Hassan Diab, who is now seeking an independent public inquiry into his ordeal.
  • The case of Omar Khadr – notably that Canada has not yet provided the full redress recommended by the Committee and required by the Convention. ICLMG and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) have sent a joint submission specifically about Omar Khadr. You can read it here.
  • Accountability mechanisms for state security agencies.
  • The ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture.
Canada Continues to Ignore Obligation to Investigate Omar Khadr Torture and to Act to Prevent Future Abuses
ICLMG & LRWC 15/10/2018 - Although compensation was paid, the redress necessary to prevent recurrence and restore the dignity, reputation and rights of Omar Khadr have not been provided. Canada has yet to investigate and disclose the facts, fully acknowledge its responsibility or clearly apologize for the acts and omissions of Canadian officials that contributed to the torture and ill treatment, prolonged arbitrary detention, denial of due process and illegal sentencing of Omar Khadr in Guantanamo Bay prison. These issues are raised in a report submitted today to the Committee Against Torture (CAT) by Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) and the ICLMG. [...] “Canadian officials have full knowledge of the torture and other grave rights violations suffered by Omar Khadr during more than 10 years in the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison” says Tim McSorley of the ICLMG. “All that time, they have never made efforts to fully investigate or bring to justice those who were complicit in his interrogation and torture. Instead they have falsely portrayed him as a dangerous person deserving of the most brutal rights violations.” Together, LRWC and the ICLMG are calling on the government, among other things, to:
  • Establish a Public Commission of Inquiry to investigate, identify those responsible and make recommendations to remedy the acts and omissions of Canadian officials that contributed to violations of Omar Khadr’s rights, and to hold those involved accountable;
  • Educate and train law enforcement personnel, lawyers, judges, prison officials, medical personnel and others who may be involved in the treatment of detained persons about duties under the Convention;
  • Ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention;
  • Enact legislation to put in place procedures for: complaints of torture and/or ill treatment by State and non-state actors; investigation of complaints and identification of suspects; and prosecution of suspects;
  • Allow those tortured outside of Canada to bring suit within Canadian courts.
Syria: A year after Raqqa, US-led Coalition’s ongoing denials an insult to survivors
Amnesty International 15/10/2018 - The US-led Coalition’s ongoing failure to admit to, let alone adequately investigate, the shocking scale of civilian deaths and destruction it caused in Raqqa is a slap in the face for survivors trying to rebuild their lives and their city, said Amnesty International a year after the offensive to oust the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS). On 17 October 2017, following a fierce four-month battle, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – the Coalition’s Kurdish-led partners on the ground – announced victory over IS, which had used civilians as human shields and committed other war crimes in besieged Raqqa. Winning the battle came at a terrible price – almost 80% of the city was destroyed and many hundreds of civilians lay dead, the majority killed by the Coalition’s bombardment. In a letter to Amnesty International on 10 September 2018, the US Department of Defense – whose forces carried out most of the air strikes and all the artillery strikes on Raqqa – made clear it accepts no liability for the civilian casualties it caused. The Coalition does not plan to compensate survivors and relatives of those killed in Raqqa and refuses to provide further information about the circumstances behind strikes that killed and maimed civilians. “Disturbingly, the Pentagon does not even seem willing to offer an apology for the hundreds of civilians killed in its ‘war of annihilation’ on Raqqa. This is an insult to families who – after suffering the brutality of IS rule – lost loved ones to the Coalition’s cataclysmic barrage of firepower,” said Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s new Secretary General, who has just returned from a field visit to Raqqa. Read more - Lire plus
Anti-Terrorism Laws Increasingly Used to Target Indigenous Activists
Truthout 12/10/2018 - “While Sioux leaders advocated for protests to remain peaceful, State law enforcement officials, private security companies and the North Dakota National Guard employed a militarized response to protests,” Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the UN Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples, wrote in  a recent report . A mercenary firm had been surveilling the pipeline opposition movement and engaged in military-style counterterrorism measures, according to  an investigative report published by The Intercept . The use of counterterrorism tactics against Indigenous protesters in the US reflects a global trend. But in many parts of the world, and particularly in Latin America, Indigenous leaders and activists are also openly and explicitly criminalized as terrorists. The use of anti-terrorism and national security legislation and policies against Indigenous activists is becoming more and more common. “Several of the countries that I’ve been to, and from the communications I’ve received, have indicated that the anti-terrorism act or the national security act is the one that’s being used more against Indigenous peoples,” Tauli-Corpuz told Truthout. With laws defining terrorism in a vague manner, governments can consider blockades against logging companies to be terrorist acts, for example, she said. Read more - Lire plus 
Canada still selling armoured vehicles to Saudis despite ‘concern’ of missing journalist: Trudeau
Global News 12/10/2018 - Prime Minister  Justin Trudeau  said Canada is still selling armoured vehicles to  Saudi Arabia , despite reports of a journalist being killed at the Saudi consulate in Turkey’s capital. Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor who has written columns critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, went missing on Oct. 2. On Friday, Turkey said it had audio and video proof that the journalist was killed and dismembered in the Saudi consulate, according to reports. The arms deal between Canada and Saudi Arabia was put through by the former Conservative government and upheld by Trudeau. It allows a Canadian company to sell $15 billion worth of light armoured vehicles to the regime. Recently, there has been a deepening diplomatic dispute between Canada and the Saudis, which started in August when Global Affairs Canada called for the “immediate release” of women’s rights activists Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sadah. In response, Saudi Arabia expelled Canada’s ambassador, froze new trade and investment, suspended a student exchange program and halted flights by state-owned Saudi Arabian Airlines to Canada for what it called “blatant interference” in its domestic affairs. And now there is the growing tension between Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world after the disappearance of Khashoggi. France, Germany and the U.S. are among the countries that have spoken out about their concern on the fate of the missing Saudi writer. Read more - Lire plus

RCMP investigate alleged Saudi agents spying on dissident’s Montreal phone
The Globe and Mail 15/10/2018 - Canada’s national police force is investigating reports that Saudi agents may have hacked into the cellphone of a 27-year-old dissident living in Montreal. The alleged target was a Montrealer named Omar Abdulaziz who came to Canada as a refugee claimant years ago. He now has a strong social-media following for the criticisms about his homeland he routinely airs online. News of this RCMP probe comes as the Gulf kingdom faces growing international accusations that it has been trying to spy on, or even silence, its most vocally critical citizens around the world. [...] The Citizen Lab, a group of academics and digital detectives based in Canada, has released several reports in recent months alleging that a global cellphone-spying network has been stepping up its targeting of people whom the Saudi kingdom would see as threats. [...] Staff Sergeant Tania Vaughan [...] would not say which laws may have been broken. The Citizen Lab suggested in its report that criminal laws against warrantless wiretapping may have been breached. The potentially compromised iPhone in Montreal was first identified only after the Citizen Lab did a forensic analysis of internet traffic related to an Israeli company that sells surveillance software to government security agencies. [ Mr. Abdulaziz] said he frequently talked to his fellow Saudi dissidents on his iPhone this summer including, very often, Mr. Khashoggi, a man whom he considered a kindred soul. Read more - Lire plus

'Deeply concerning': Canada pension fund invests in US immigration detention firms
The Guardian 12/10/2018 - Canadian politicians have expressed alarm that one of Canada’s biggest pension investment funds has increased holdings in two private US companies that run American prisons and incarcerate the majority of detained immigrants. The  Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), which manages $366.6bn in pension funds on behalf of some 20 million Canadian retirees, holds US$5.9m of stock in Geo Group and CoreCivic, according to its latest US Security and Exchange Commission filings. The move to increase holdings comes despite criticisms from Canadian politicians about US detention policies and following international outcry over the US “zero-tolerance” crackdown this summer on the US-Mexico border that led to children being separated from families. Between August 2017 and 2018, the CPPIB grew its investment in Geo Group almost 13-fold to 153,500 shares worth $4.2m, according to filings from August 2018. CPPIB said the holdings were a tiny proportion of their fund, and were from pooled indirect investments. However, Charlie Angus, a member of parliament for Canada’s New Democratic party, said: “This is deeply concerning to learn … There’s a corporate ethical lens that needs to apply.” Canadian senator Kim Pate of the Independent Senators Group said: “Canadian taxpayers should not be inadvertently complicit in feeding the development of privatized for-profit prisons.” Read more - Lire plus 

Canadian Charities Balk At Proposed Liberal Tax Changes
Huffington Post 15/10/2018 - The Liberals suggested Monday they will strip the charitable status of a group advocating the elimination of poverty, just as the NDP accused the Grits of trying to silence the voices of civil society. Quebec NDP MP Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet demanded to know, in the House of Commons, why the Liberals are continuing the "political harassment" of Canadian charities that the Conservatives had begun. Over the weekend, HuffPost Canada  broke the news  that the Liberals are proposing legislation that contravenes an Ontario court's ruling this summer that gave charities the right to engage in non-partisan political activism without any limitation. [...] The proposed legislation the Liberals released last month suggests that while the 10 per cent cap will be eliminated, non-political activities will have to remain incidental to a group's charitable purposes — something Morgan specifically ruled against. That key word "incidental," caught the attention of Leilani Farha, the executive director of Canada Without Poverty. The small charity doesn't provide food or shelter but aims to fight poverty through advocating changes to legislation and government programs. In 2015, the Canada Revenue Agency tried to strip the group of its charitable status by arguing that it spent 98.5 per cent of its time doing non-partisan political activity — and that the activity was central, rather than subordinate, to its mandate. Read more - Lire plus 
European Counter-Terrorism Approaches: A Slow and Insidious Erosion of Fundamental Rights
Just Security 17/10/2018 - The European Union’s  counterterrorism directive , which was adopted in March 2017, emerged from a highly attenuated legislative process in which many of the usual process requirements were  fast-tracked  or differentially implemented. As is often the case, the imperative necessity of security was used to justify the abandonment of regular regulatory process, including the checks and balances intended to encourage the integration of democratic, transparent and human rights-compliant outcomes. The E.U. directive on terrorism has shaped national policies in ways that have essentially created a “one-size-fits-all” solution, shaped by U.N. Security Council mandates, often with limited regard to the downstream consequences of regulation. Multiple NGOs have  warned  that the overly broad language of the E.U. directive could lead to criminalizing public protests and other peaceful acts, the suppression of freedom of expression, including of dissenting political views. There is also a real risk that, at the national level, the directive will be applied and implemented in a way that discriminates against vulnerable and marginalized ethnic and religious communities. Read more - Lire plus
Jurist 15/10/2018 - Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the UK Monday to  amend a new counter-terrorism bill , stating that the bill “excessively restrict[s] freedom of expression, freedom of movement, and privacy.” The  Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill  makes it illegal for someone to express support for a terrorist organization if it “reckless[ly]” encourages others to support the organization. HRW has called the provision unnecessary because glorification and encouragement of terrorism is already illegal. The bill would also make it illegal to view online material that would likely be useful to “committing or preparing an act of terrorism.” Although not knowing that the material would contain such information is an allowed excuse under the law, HRW states that the law could restrict journalists and researchers. In regards to freedom of movement, the bill would make it illegal to travel to terrorist risk zones. Travel to the areas is allowed if the person has a “reasonable excuse” for entering the zones. HRW calls the exception on unjust burden of proof for travelers. HRW also stated that the bill could restrict individuals who wish to visit family, provide aid, attend funerals or report on conflicts. In regards to right to privacy, the bill provides border security officials the ability to detain and question a person to determine if they have engaged in “hostile activit[ies].” The bill specifies that “grounds for suspecting that a person is or has been engaged in hostile activity” is not necessary. HRW states that similar measures in the UK disproportionately affect minorities in the country. Several countries have enacted anti-terrorism laws in recent years which have undergone criticisms. In May 2017 the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism criticized Saudi Arabia’s  counter-terrorism laws  as being too broad and being a threat to individual rights. In January HRW criticized Sri Lanka’s counter-terrorism laws as allowing the government to  arbitrarily detain and torture suspects . Read more - Lire plus 

Police spies infiltrated UK leftwing groups for decades
The Guardian 15/10/2018 - Police  deployed 24 undercover officers to infiltrate a small leftwing political party over a 37-year period, the Guardian can reveal. The police spies infiltrated the Socialist Workers party (SWP) almost continuously between 1970 and 2007, often with more than one undercover officer embedded within the party. Four of them deceived women into sexual relationships while using their fake identities. One spy met one of his wives during his deployment and had a child with her. About one-third of the total number of undercover officers embedded in political organisations that have so far been publicly identified infiltrated the SWP, a Trotskyite party of a few thousand members that advocates the abolition of capitalism  through revolutionary means . The scale of the infiltration of the SWP – far larger than any other political organisation – is revealed in a database compiled following investigations by the Guardian and the  Undercover Research Group , a network of activists that  scrutinises police espionage . Read more - Lire plus 
China: Mass internment camps are places of punishment, not ‘vocational training’
Amnesty International 16/10/2018 - Responding to comments by the governor of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) northwest China, who described the camps in which up to a million predominantly Muslim people are currently detained as “free vocational training” centres, Patrick Poon, China researcher at Amnesty International said: “The governor’s remarks fly in the face of all available evidence and are an insult to both those suffering in the camps and the families of those missing. No amount of spin can hide the fact that the Chinese authorities are undertaking a campaign of systematic repression in the XUAR with up to one million people arbitrarily detained. “The mass internment camps are primarily places of punishment and torture, not learning. There are consistent reports of beatings, food deprivation and solitary confinement. This is having a devastating toll on the lives of up to one million people. It’s time the authorities come clean on what is really happening in the XUAR.” Read more - Lire plus

Investigation: As U.S.-Backed War in Yemen Raged, UAE Hired U.S. Mercenaries to Kill Yemeni Leaders
Democracy now! 17/10/2018 - A shocking new investigation has revealed that the United Arab Emirates hired U.S. mercenaries to carry out assassinations of political and clerical leaders in Yemen. The former elite U.S. special operations fighters were paid to take part in missions to kill those deemed to be “terrorists” by the UAE. The UAE worked with the U.S. company Spear Operations Group, founded by an Israeli-American man named Abraham Golan, who told BuzzFeed, “There was a targeted assassination program in Yemen. I was running it.” The group’s first target in Yemen was a local leader of al-Islah, a political party whose members include Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Tawakkul Karman. We speak with journalist Aram Roston of BuzzFeed News, who broke the story. His new piece is titled “A Middle East Monarchy Hired American Ex-Soldiers to Kill Its Political Enemies. This Could Be the Future of War.” Read more - Lire plus

Guantanamo prison to stay open at least 25 years: US admiral
France24 17/10/2018 - Former president Barack Obama had vowed to close the US military-run prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but now it will stay open for at least 25 years, the officer in charge of the facility said Tuesday. Rear Admiral John Ring said the prison, which holds several alleged plotters of the 9/11 attacks, is focused on readiness to make "sure that the facilities are going to last for 25 years." In January, President Donald Trump signed an executive order, reversing his predecessor Obama's ultimately fruitless 2009 directive to shutter the facility that has drawn global scorn. Following Trump's move, "they told us we are going to be here for 25 years or more," said Ring, Commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo. The Pentagon "sent us a memo saying plan to be open" for at least 25 years, Ring said during a visit regularly organized by the US military for journalists, with the aim of showing that prisoners are treated humanely at the American enclave in communist Cuba's southeast. In December, the top torture expert at the United Nations said reports from sources indicated at least one inmate was still being tortured at Guantanamo Bay. Read more - Lire plus

Tell the Senate to Fix Bill C-59 before it's too late!
From mass surveillance to the No Fly List, the new National Security Act fails to undo past problems and brings in new powers that threaten our rights & freedoms. Send a message to the Senate that they need to fix Bill C-59.

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Stop Mohamed Harkat's Deportation to Torture
No one should be deported to torture. Ever. If sent back to Algeria, Mohamed Harkat faces detention, torture and even death. Send a message to PM Trudeau and the Ministers of Public Safety, Justice and Immigration to urge them to stop the deportation of Moe Harkat and to not make themselves, and Canada, complicit in torture once more.
Call on Justin Trudeau to ensure justice for Abousfian Abdelrazik
In September 2003, Canadian citizen Abousfian Abdelrazik was arrested in Sudan, while he was back in the country visiting his ailing mother. Over the next three years he was imprisoned for nearly 20 months and was held under house arrest for 12 months. He was denied a lawyer, and was never charged or brought before a judge. There were lengthy periods when he had no family or consular visits. During that time he was badly tortured in three different prisons. Not only did Canada fail to take steps to protect him, CSIS officials frequently obstructed efforts to secure his release. Those actions prolonged his detention, with no concern for the obvious risk of mistreatment he was facing.
NOUVEAU Vigile Annuelle: Justice pour les Victimes de Bavures Policières
Lundi 22 octobre 2018 à 17h
Rendez-vous : 480 Gilford, métro Laurier (sortie St-Joseph).

Événement familial; bienvenue à touTEs! Beau temps, mauvais temps.

Cette année, nous voulons réaffirmer notre solidarité avec la famille 
de Brandon Maurice, qui a été tué par la SQ à Messines en 2015. Suite à l'enquête publique du coroner sur la mort de Brandon, sa mère Dominique Bernier a annoncé son intention de poursuivre les policiers impliqués pour négligence causant la mort. Nous saluons le courage et la détermination de cette famille dans sa lutte pour la justice, lutte que Bridget Tolley, Julie Matson et tant d'autres continuent jusqu'au bout.
New Parliamentary Petition: Release Edwin Espinal!
We call upon MPs to: 
- Urgently intervene in the case of Edwin Espinal, spouse of Karen Spring of Elmvale, arrested January 19, 2018, on trumped-up charges in the wake of popular protests; and
- Immediately ensure that Honduras release Espinal and four other political prisoners still held in inhumane maximum-security military prisons, and drop all charges against 22 political prisoners.
Muskrat Falls Parliament Hill Direct Action: See Their Faces
Monday, October 29, 2018, 12 Noon, Parliament Hill
Meet at 11 am at the Human Rights Monument, Elgin and Lisgar

Help bring the Faces and Voices of those most at risk from poisoning and drowning downstream of the Muskrat Falls megadam to the desks of each MP inside the House of Commons.
Five Eyes: Save encryption
Ministers from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the U.S. have gone public with their plans for a huge attack on our personal security.
They want to force companies to crush the encryption that protects our private data and messages. But ordinary people need and use encryption every day, in everything from online banking to personal messaging in apps like WhatsApp.
Tell ministers to stop their attacks, and commit to protecting our privacy and security.
Iran: Release Saeed Malekpour!
Saeed Malekpour, an Iranian national with permanent residency in Canada, has been imprisoned in Iran since his arrest on 4 October 2008. In late 2010, he was initially sentenced to death for “spreading corruption on earth” in relation to a web programme he created for uploading photos which the Iranian authorities said was used on pornographic websites. This was an open source programme and Saeed Malekpour has maintained that the use of this web programme on other websites was without his knowledge. His death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 2012.
Canadian Council for Refugees Fall Consultation
26 - 28 November 2018, Montreal

Since 1978 the CCR has connected people and organizations across Canada to support them as they work passionately and tirelessly to protect refugees and make Canada a welcoming home for newcomers.  Our 40th anniversary  provides us with an opportunity to showcase our accomplishments and to recognize contributions – large or small, yet all significant – to our successes.
Join more than 300 others in Montreal to explore current issues affecting refugee protection and newcomer settlement at our Fall Consultation. All are welcome to participate! With views from all Canadian provinces and with experts in diverse fields, the Consultation offers opportunities for professional development, networking and strategy.
Have your say: Canada's data and digital strategy
The government wants to hear what people in Canada think about crucial digital data and privacy issues. And what they hear back from the public will inform new policies around things like privacy laws, big data, digital access, and control over data. Choose a few topics that interest you to share your thoughts on. OpenMedia included a range of issues from the government's consultation, as well as a few OM thinks the government may have missed. Once you've made your selections, we'll share a few bullet points for each one to help you get started. We just learhe consultation was supposed to run until the end of September. Make sure to send your submissions as soon as possible.
"Lutte au terrorisme"

Extrajudicial killings
Exécutions extrajudiciaires

Review of national security activities
Examen des activités de sécurité nationale

Les opinions exprimées ne reflètent pas nécessairement les positions de la CSILC - The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the positions of ICLMG.
to our amazing supporters!
We would like to thank all our member organizations, and our patrons who are supporting ICLMG on Patreon ! As a reward, we are listing our patrons who give $10 or more per month (and wanted to be listed) directly in the News Digest. Without you, our work wouldn't be possible!

Kathryn Dingle
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Nous tenons à remercier nos organisations membres et toutes les personnes qui soutiennent la CSILC sur Patreon ! En récompense, nous nommons ci-dessus nos mécènes qui donnent 10$ ou plus par mois directement dans le News Digest. Sans vous, notre travail ne serait pas possible!