International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
14 février 2020
ICLMG condemns repression, criminalization of Wet’suwet’en land defenders, supporters & journalists
ICLMG 14/02/2020 - The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) condemns the RCMP’s armed invasion of unceded Wet’suwet’en territory, and the ongoing repression and criminalization of Wet’suwet’en land defenders, their supporters and journalists. The ICLMG is a coalition of 46 organizations across Canada, based in Ottawa on unceded Algonquin land. The ICLMG’s primary focus is on the impact of national security and anti-terrorism laws and activities on civil liberties and human rights in Canada and internationally.

The coalition has long-expressed its concerns about how national security is used to stigmatize and criminalize land defenders. The ICLMG opposes the increased use of language of “critical infrastructure” and “national security” to describe and justify the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline and the RCMP’s actions to enforce an injunction 1 to remove Wet’suwet’en land defenders and their supporters from their territory. This language serves to position resource development and the extraction of fossil fuels as superseding Indigenous rights, and to paint the defense of those rights as threatening Canada’s “national security.”

It is also important to note that the language of “national security” and “critical infrastructure” can serve to trigger national security laws, particularly the Security of Canada Information Disclosure Act, allowing the disclosure of individuals’ private information by government departments with federal security agencies. While this sharing occurs in secret, it is reviewed annually by the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA), and we urge the NSIRA to pay particular attention to this issue in its upcoming work.

The ICLMG also condemns the RCMP’s portrayal of the peaceful opponents to the Coastal GasLink project as “radicalized” and the agency’s profiling of Indigenous land protectors through programs like Project SITKA, including several individuals connected with the Wet’suwet’en Healing Centre, camps and access point built on Wet’suwet’en territory. This language reflects an approach based on criminalization and linking land defenders to national security and terrorism threats, contradicting Canada’s stated commitment to reconciliation and upholding Indigenous rights.

These actions by the RCMP, and support by both the BC and federal governments, cannot be separated from the historical context of the RCMP’s predecessor, the North-West Mounted Police, which was created as part of Canada’s colonial project in order to assert sovereignty over Indigenous peoples and their lands. For Canada to truly break with this history, it must immediately withdraw the RCMP and respect the Wet’suwet’en’s sovereignty over their territories.

The ICLMG also denounces the detention, removal and exclusion of journalists reporting on the conflict. Prohibiting journalists from carrying out their work during the RCMP’s armed invasion is a clear violation of free expression and press freedom, denying the press the ability to carry out its important work of ensuring accountability and transparency.

Finally, we share the grave concerns raised by the BC Civil Liberties Association, Union of BC Indian Chiefs and others in their complaints filed with the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP. This includes condemning the “overbroad scope as well as inconsistent and arbitrary exercise of RCMP discretion in Wet’suwet’en territories.” 2 As they write: “The RCMP implementation and enforcement of the exclusion zone criminalizes and impedes the movement of Wet’suwet’en people, invited guests of the Wet’suwet’en, media, legal counsel as well as food and medical supplies.” 3 And: “There is absolutely no legal precedent nor established legal authority for such an overbroad policing power associated with the enforcement of an injunction. The implementation and enforcement of the RCMP exclusion zone in Wet’suwet’en territory is unlawful.” 4

The ICLMG believes that the security and safety of people living in Canada will be achieved through the respect of fundamental rights and liberties, including the respect and recognition of Indigenous rights, and not through the stigmatization of land defenders as “radicalized” threats and the use of armed invasions and arrests. In light of this, we call for an immediate withdrawal of the RCMP from Wet’suwet’en territory, and for the government to respect Wet’suwet’en law and the Hereditary Chiefs’ authority over their traditional territory. Source and footnotes + Share on Facebook + Twitter + Instagram

More info & ways to take action: Unistoten Camp + Gidimt’en Access Point + RAVEN Trust
Wet’suwet’en Camps Reoccupied, Heavy RCMP Presence is Ongoing - Press release from the Wet'suwet'en territories
Gidimt'en Access Point 12/02/2020 - Reconciliation is dead. The events of the past week on Wet’suwet’en territories have been an extreme demonstration of colonial violence, approved in contravention of Wet’suwet’en, Canadian and international law.

RCMP arrested 28 land defenders and matriarchs during the enforcement of the interlocatory injunction approved by Justice Church, who also approved the TMX pipeline on February 4, 2020. One person, refusing to acknowledge colonial law, remains in custody and will be appearing in court on February 21st, 2020 in Prince George. Charges are pending as CGL has requested Crown intervention. The rest of the land defenders are to appear before the Supreme Court in Prince George in late April 2020.

In response to discretionary, unreasonable and unjustified police action, the BCCLA has launched a policy complaint and public interest investigation aimed at RCMP conduct. The RCMP illegally arrested people encamped outside of the injunction zone, and people hiding from officers with assault rifles off the roads mentioned in the injunction. The blatant disregard and disrespect shown by the RCMP to Wet’suwet’en, Canadian and international law is now the subject of investigation.

While the admittedly illegal exclusion zones have been lifted, there is still an extreme RCMP presence on Wet’suwet’en land. We expect them to heavily guard and facilitate CGL access to unceded territories without Free, Prior and Informed consent from the Hereditary Chiefs. The eviction notice to CGL given on January 4th, 2020 still stands and will continue to be enforced with the full power and jurisdiction under Wet’suwet’en law.
We encourage all supporters to stand strong in solidarity with this struggle. It is far from over. Media Contact: Jennifer Wickham, Media Coordinator for Gidim’ten Camp, (778) 210 0067,, . Source

Liberals 'have to do more' to free my husband after 14 years in prison, says wife of jailed Huseyin Celil
National Post 11/02/2020 - The wife of a Canadian citizen imprisoned in China for nearly 14 years says the government must push the Chinese harder to get her husband home. “They have to do more,” said Kamila Celil. “It’s been 14 years. I think it’s enough.”

The plight of Huseyin Celil has been almost forgotten with the spotlight now on the high-profile jailings of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig in the wake of the Meng Wanzhou affair. Celil, a member of the Muslim Uyghur ethnic minority, fled China in 2001 after being briefly jailed for advocating for human rights for the group. He settled in Canada and became a Canadian citizen in 2005. But after travelling to Uzbekistan on his Canadian passport in 2006, he was arrested, extradited to China and jailed. In all the years he has been in detention, he has never received any consular access despite requests from both Conservative and Liberal foreign ministers.

Last week, Canada’s Ambassador to China Dominic Barton said Celil was not a “Canadian citizenship holder,” while answering a question from Conservative MP Garnett Genuis at a House of Commons committee. Outside the committee, Barton later clarified that he was unsure about his status, but said the Chinese government didn’t recognize the citizenship. “We have tried everything we can on the consular services side and we can not get access.” Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne made clear in the House of Commons the day after Barton’s appearance that the government recognizes Celil’s status.

“We will continue to call upon the Chinese government to give Canadian officials consular access, in order to determine his well-being and offer him assistance, like we will do for every Canadian.” Celil said she didn’t see Barton’s comments, but said there should be no doubt about her husband’s citizenship. “He is a Canadian citizen. I have all the documents.” But Kamila Celil said the government should move past requests for consular access and focus instead on getting her husband released on humanitarian grounds.
“They have to directly ask for his release.” The family have four children, one of whom Celil has never seen because of his arrest.

The Chinese government has been targeting Uyghurs more aggressively in recent years. There are reports the government has interned millions of them in what it calls “re-education” camps. Even those outside of the camps have been under harsh surveillance and are pushed to abandon their culture, faith and language. Celil said she has received no word for four years about her husband’s health. That coincides with a wider crackdown on Uyghur people. Read more - Lire plus
'My freedom and my life were stolen from me,' says Diab, suing over extradition
The Canadian Press 07/02/2020 - Ottawa sociology professor Hassan Diab says his long fight against accusations of terrorism wiped out his savings and caused chronic stress, depression and severe insomnia, prompting his lawsuit for financial compensation from the federal government.

Diab appealed to the government Friday to resolve the case “in a humane and fair manner” as he, his wife and two young children filed a statement of claim in Ontario Superior Court seeking tens of millions of dollars over his extradition to France. “Throughout this time, my family was an ocean away. I missed the birth of my son. I missed birthdays, first steps, first words and so many other irreplaceable moments,” Diab, 66, told a news conference. “For nearly a decade, my freedom and my life were stolen from me.”

Born in Lebanon, Diab became a Canadian citizen in 1993, working in Ottawa as a university teacher. The RCMP arrested him in November 2008 in response to a request by France. French authorities suspected he was involved in the 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue that killed four people and injured dozens of others, an accusation he has always denied. Following drawn-out proceedings that went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, Diab was extradited to France where he spent three years behind bars, including time in solitary confinement. In January 2018, French judges dismissed the allegations against him and ordered his immediate release.

Diab accuses the Canadian government of negligent investigation and malicious prosecution and says federal officials violated his constitutional guarantees of freedom of movement, liberty and security of the person. The statement of claim contends the government withheld crucial fingerprint evidence prior to his extradition hearing. Guy Pratte, Diab’s lawyer, said Friday the evidence would have affected the outcome of the extradition proceedings. Pratte said Diab and his family hope the government will “want to right this terrible wrong” without a prolonged court battle. Upon his return to Canada, Diab said he did not want financial compensation from the Canadian government, just changes to the “lousy” extradition law.

An external review of Diab’s extradition case for the Canadian government concluded that federal lawyers who worked on the file “acted in a manner that was ethical and consistent” with law and policy. Diab has rejected the report as a “whitewash exercise.” He lamented Friday the government had “taken no meaningful action” to reform the extradition law since his release. “The reality is that my ordeal could have been prevented,” Diab said. “And I am here today to ensure that no Canadian ever has to go through the same experience again.” Read more - Lire plus

'You can't live lightheartedly,' Omar Khadr tells child soldiers panel in rare public appearance
The Canadian Press 12/02/2020 - Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr provided a small window of insight about his life since his return to Canada in 2013 during a rare public speaking appearance in Halifax. Khadr, who was part of a panel discussion on child soldiers hosted by the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, told an audience at Dalhousie University that he always has to behave a certain way in public because of his past. He said he had been treated as a bad person for so long that he believes he has to constantly prove he isn’t.

“I always have to carry myself in a very professional way and I have to carry myself in a way that I’m always trying to convince people that I’m not bad,” said Khadr. “I have to always be rational. I can’t be emotional because I’m worried if I’m emotional people are going to think he’s manipulative, and that’s so burdensome.” Khadr said it’s a situation where he can’t make any mistakes. “You can’t live lightheartedly,” he said. “Everything you do you have to be aware of what you are doing and it’s tiring at some point.”

As a 15-year-old in Afghanistan, Canadian-born Khadr was captured and badly wounded in July 2002 and was accused of killing a U.S. soldier and injuring another.
He was held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, and was returned to Canada in 2013.
The 33-year-old appeared in Halifax with Ishmael Beah, a human rights activist and former Sierra Leonean child soldier, along with Dallaire and the Dallaire Initiative’s executive director Shelly Whitman. [...]

Khadr pleaded guilty to five war crimes, including the murder of a U.S. special forces soldier, before a widely disparaged military commission at Guantanamo Bay in 2010. As part of a plea deal, the court sentenced him to eight more years rather than to the jury-recommended 40 years. Khadr later said the deal was his only way out of the infamous American prison. He has also spent more than six years trying to appeal his conviction but a military commission appellate court has so far refused to hear the case.

Beah, who has written about his two-year experience as a child soldier from the age of 13, said he has been celebrated for turning his life around from a situation where he was indoctrinated and desensitized, while Khadr has had to fight for acceptance since his return to Canada. “Here was a child from North America who has been vilified,” said Beah. “I felt there was a dishonesty in the way people had empathy for me but not for him.” Read more - Lire plus

Toronto police chief halts use of controversial facial recognition tool
The Toronto Star 13/02/2020 - Toronto police officers used a controversial  facial recognition technology  for months, according to a spokesperson, before chief Mark Saunders became aware of its use and ordered it stopped. Clearview AI, a U.S. technology company that provides artificial intelligence-powered facial recognition tools to law enforcement agencies, has been criticized for its particularly broad impacts on personal privacy. It identifies people by searching its database of billions of images scraped from the open web, including social media sites, providing vastly more search powers than other known facial recognition tools.

“Some members of the Toronto Police Service began using Clearview AI in October 2019 with the intent of informally testing this new and evolving technology,” said TPS spokesperson Meaghan Gray. “The chief directed that its use be halted immediately upon his awareness, and the order to cease using the product was given on Feb. 5, 2020.”
Gray said the Toronto Police Service has requested that Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner and the Crown Attorney’s Office work with the force to review the technology’s appropriateness as a tool for law enforcement, “given that it is also used by other law enforcement agencies in North America.” “Until a fulsome review of the product is completed, it will not be used by the Toronto Police Service.”

A front-page New York Times story published in January first drew scrutiny to the previously little-known company’s broad powers and impacts on privacy. The report detailed how the company claims to have a database of over 3 billion images scraped from Facebook, YouTube and millions of other websites. Law enforcement officials who use Clearview AI can run an image of a person against this massive database, pulling up matches to images collected from across the web. Last May, when the Star first revealed that Toronto police were using facial recognition technology, the force said their tool only searched for matches in its own internal database of lawfully acquired mugshots.

At the time, Staff Insp. Stephen Harris of TPS’s Forensic Identification Services said “there are no plans to expand the TPS’s use of facial recognition beyond our current mugshot database. We are not judicially authorized to do so.” Brenda MacPhail, director of the privacy, technology, and surveillance project at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, called Toronto police’s use of Clearview AI “a remarkable violation of public trust.”
“Clearview AI collects images of people without consent, in violation of the terms of service of the platforms people trust to protect their information — arguably, illegally — and no police force in Canada should be using technology whose lawfulness is open to question,” MacPhail said. In the last month, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have all demanded that the company stop using data scraped from their websites. According to The New York Times, over 600 law enforcement agencies use Clearview AI.

Earlier this week, the Ontario Provincial Police and the Mounties both declined to answer the Star’s questions about whether either force had used Clearview AI. “The OPP has used facial recognition technology for various types of investigations,” OPP spokesperson Carolle Dionne said. “As its use is operational and specific to investigative technique we will not specify further.” “Generally, the RCMP does not comment on specific investigative tools or techniques,” said RCMP spokesperson Catherine Fortin. “However, we continue to monitor new and evolving technology.” Read more - Lire plus

Families with kids ensnared by no-fly list invited to test federal remedy
The Canadian Press 11/02/2020 - Families who have endured anxiety-inducing airport delays over no-fly list mismatches will be among the first to test a new system intended to solve the problem.The move is the latest federal step in revamping passenger-screening procedures following numerous cases of young children being stopped at airports because their names are the same as, or similar to, ones on Canada's no-fly list.

Passengers who have experienced difficulties will be able to apply for a unique code known as a "Canadian travel number" to help avoid false matches when booking flights to, from or within Canada. The airline would give the number to the government, which will be responsible for screening passengers against the Secure Air Travel Act watchlist, commonly known as the no-fly list. Federal officials would then inform the air carrier should there be any additional screening requirements or an outright prohibition on allowing the person to fly.

The government says the new system -- being phased in over the next few years -- will also improve the security of air travel and protect passenger privacy since airlines, which now use the no-fly list for screening, will no longer have direct access to it. Members of the group No Fly List Kids, who have pressed the government for changes, learned during a recent federal briefing they would be invited as soon as late April to test an online portal and a paper form to apply for a Canadian travel number. Group co-founder Khadija Cajee said she plans to apply for a number for her son Adam, 10, who has experienced several airport delays due to no-fly-list mismatches. "The last time he travelled the same thing happened," she said. "He couldn't check in online." Read more - Lire plus
Counter-terrorism soft law, hard consequences
ECNL 2020 - This briefing is a summary of the 2019 General Assembly report (A/74/335) of the UN Special Rapporteur on the pro-motion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism. The report analyses the impact of the increased proliferation and use of “soft law” regulation in the counter-terrorism arena on the protection and promotion of human rights.

What is Soft Law? Soft law constitutes international norms, principals, and procedures that lack the requisite degree of normative content to create enforceable rights and obligations but are still able to produce certain legal effects. Soft law functions as a gap-filler, giving guidance to States and other stakeholders in the absence of binding legal norms.

THE PROBLEM: Global and regional counter-terrorism institutions are producing increasing amounts of soft law norms. States are using these standards to regulate terrorism, violent extremism and extremism. Soft law norms are pervasively transforming into formal and binding legal frameworks. However, there is an absence of meaningful human rights expertise and assessment in adopting soft law norms - these are produced through processes that are neither transparent nor accessible.

THE CAUSE Since 11 September 2001, the UN and various global, regional, and selective institutions, such as FATF, have contributed to steady norm production on counter-terrorism, creating a specific “soft law ecosystem.” Most are produced by a only a small group of States, without consistent and well-defined human rights inputs. Within these entities, the process of norm production is closed – excluding or severely limiting the role of civil society actors and human rights and international law experts.

THE IMPACT Soft law produced in the counter-terrorism arena inadequately addresses formal human rights obligations of States. In general, these norms do not undergo meaningful human rights scrutiny. Moreover, counter-terrorism norms often employ only the standard phrase, “in compliance with international law, including human rights, humanitarian and refugee law,” instead of substantive human rights content. In general, there is nothing about specific impingements on human rights, how they are to be minimized, and what law and obligations guide States to that end.

These human rights gaps are then formalized when soft law norms are referenced and endorsed in documents produced by the UN entities, such as the Security Council. This result is particularly harmful as weak norms can lead to serious human rights violations undermining security for all. Security and human rights are fundamentally entwined and co-dependent. Security without human rights protections is only an illusion. Human rights violations do not make the world safer or more secure, they undermine the security of all.

1. Apply human rights standards consistently and unequivocally to counter-terrorism policies: “Soft law” counter-terrorism instruments should be benchmarked against human rights obligations; comprehensive, detailed, and relevant inclusion of human rights standards should be consistently applied in counter-terrorism soft norm-making.

2. Do not endorse counter-terrorism standards without human rights and international law safeguards: United Nations entities should only endorse non-United Nations counter-terrorism standards when they are consistent with international law, human rights, and international humanitarian law.

3. Review and address gaps in counter-terrorism instruments on State level: States should consider undertaking a comprehensive mapping and review of counter-terrorism “soft law” instruments, addressing their human rights gaps, and providing a road map for enhancing human rights implementation.

4. More inclusion of civil society: All counter-terrorism entities should make standard-setting and evaluation processes more participatory and consistently accessible to a diverse representation of States and civil society stakeholders. Read more - Lire plus
The FBI Makes a Bizarre Claim About "Pro-Choice Terrorism"
The Daily Beast 11/02/2020 - The FBI is expanding its focus on domestic terrorism, and that includes pro-choice violence—even though such violence is so vanishingly rare, it’s all but nonexistent. In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray disclosed that the bureau has recently “changed our terminology as part of a broader reorganization of the way in which we categorize our domestic terrorism efforts.” It’s part of a much-heralded reinvigoration of the bureau’s domestic terrorism focus after a rising tide of mostly white-supremacist terrorism.

Among four broad categories of domestic terrorism that the FBI confronts, Wray said, is “abortion violent extremism.” But Wray wasn’t only talking about the pro-life extremism that murders abortion providers in their churches , he hastened to add, but “people on either side of that issue who commit violence on behalf of different views on that topic.” His questioner, Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), was puzzled at Wray’s seeming equivalence: “People on either side of that issue don't commit violence.” In fact, the FBI pointed The Daily Beast to just one episode of pro-choice-inspired terrorism—one that did not involve an actual act of violence, but rather a threat in an online comments section.

But Wray persisted: “Well, we've actually had a variety of kinds of violence under that, believe it or not. But at the end of the day.” Bass asked, “Really, that blow up buildings and threaten doctors?” Rather than responding, Wray moved on to detailing the FBI’s next domestic-terrorism category, one about “animal rights and environmental extremism.”
Wray’s comments weren’t the first instance of the bureau promoting the idea of pro-choice violence as a real threat. In 2017, the FBI distributed a brief “Abortion Extremism Reference Guide” at a counterterrorism training for local law enforcement, listing “pro-choice extremists” as a group of domestic terrorists. The document, first reported by Jezebel , claimed that these extremists “believe it is their moral duty to protect those who provide or receive abortion services”—though even this document noted that only one “pro-choice extremist” had ever been prosecuted. Additionally, an earlier FBI training document obtained by the ACLU in 2012 referenced pro-choice violence but did not “provide a single example of violence against abortion opponents,” the ACLU wrote. Read more - Lire plus
CIA controlled global encryption company for decades, says report
The Guardian 11/02/2020 - The Swiss government has ordered an inquiry into a global encryption company based in Zug following revelations it was owned and controlled for decades by US and German intelligence.

Encryption weaknesses added to products sold by Crypto AG allowed the CIA and its German counterpart, the BND, to eavesdrop on adversaries and allies alike while earning million of dollars from the sales, according the Washington Post and the German public broadcaster ZDF , based on the agencies’ internal histories of the intelligence operation.

“It was the intelligence coup of the century,” the CIA report concluded. “Foreign governments were paying good money to the US and West Germany for the privilege of having their most secret communications read by at least two (and possibly as many as five or six) foreign countries.” The mention of five or six countries is probably a reference to the Five Eyes electronic intelligence sharing agreement between the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The operation, codenamed Thesaurus and then renamed Rubicon in 1980s, demonstrated the overwhelming intelligence value of being able to insert flaws into widely sold communications equipment. The CIA’s success over many years is likely to reinforce current US suspicions of equipment made by the Chinese company Huawei . Neither China or the Soviet Union bought Crypto encryption devices, suspicious of the company’s origins, but it was sold to more than 100 other countries. Read more - Lire plus
The US says Huawei has been spying through 'back doors' designed for law enforcement — which is what the US has been pressuring tech companies to do for years
Business Insider 12/02/2020 - The US accused Huawei of spying on people through technological "back doors" intended for use by law enforcement, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday . According to The Journal, US officials say Huawei has had this technology for over a decade. The US kept this information highly classified until it started sharing it last year with allies like Germany and the UK in a bid to get them to freeze out Huawei equipment from their 5G networks, the report said. The information doesn't seem to have troubled the UK, however, as the country announced last month that it would allow Huawei to build a limited amount of its "non-core" 5G infrastructure .

The US has long accused Huawei of acting as a conduit for Chinese government spying, but this is the first time it's provided details about how it thinks Huawei does this. Huawei has repeatedly denied that it spies for China. Specifically, officials told The Journal that Huawei built equipment allowing it to tap into telecoms using interfaces designed only for law enforcement without alerting the carriers. "Huawei does not disclose this covert access to its local customers, or the host nation national-security agencies," a senior US official told the newspaper. Officials who spoke with The Journal didn't say whether they'd observed Huawei exploiting this access or give technical details other than that they first spotted it in 2009 on 4G equipment. [...]

Huawei also accused the US of hypocrisy. "As evidenced by the Snowden leaks, the United States has been covertly accessing telecom networks worldwide, spying on other countries for quite some time. The report by the Washington Post this week about how the CIA used an encryption company to spy on other countries for decades is yet additional proof," the spokeswoman said, adding that The Journal's coverage displayed a "bias" against Huawei. [...] The US government's latest allegation against Huawei highlights a security argument that the US has long been wrangling with tech companies about: whether it's safe to build privacy vulnerabilities for law enforcement to use. The US has for years pressured big tech companies to build methods for allowing law enforcement to circumvent security measures like encryption. Read more - Lire plus
Exclusive: More drawings allege CIA's horrific treatment of Abu Zubaydah
CNN 12/02/2020 - They shock the conscience.

These drawings show the coercive interrogation techniques that Abu Zubaydah says were used on him by CIA interrogators when he was held in CIA secret prisons outside the US for four years after he was captured in Pakistan in 2002. It's one thing to read about these coercive techniques, but it's quite another to see Abu Zubaydah's sketches of these alleged techniques, which were obtained by CNN.

Abu Zubaydah's drawings show him:
  • Lying naked in a locked coffin-like box filled to the brim with water.
  • Strung up naked while being hosed with water in an air-conditioned, freezing room.
  • Being beaten with a bat.
  • Being water boarded by men in masks; a form of simulated drowning.
  • Being slammed up against a wall.
  • Having insects introduced into his cell.

Egypt moves toward toughening up draconian anti-terror law
570 News 10/02/2020 - Egypt’s legislature on Monday gave its initial approval for toughening up already draconian anti-terrorism laws, with amendments that include life sentences and capital punishment for funding terrorism, the state-run news agency said.

The sweeping anti-terrorism law was enacted in August 2015. It established an extremely broad definition of terrorism, describing it in one article as any act that disturbs public order with force. Some charges, such as leading or organizing a terrorist group, carry the death penalty. The 2015 law also included provisions to protect Egyptian security forces from prosecution, establish stiffer prison sentences for terror-related offences, as well as heavy fines for those who publish “false news” and a special judicial circuit for terrorism cases. Journalists who do not toe the government line could be punished under the law.

The new amendments expand the definition for the crime of funding terrorist acts. These would now include providing a place for training one terrorist or more; giving them weapons or documents in any way or form; offering support and financing in order to help terrorists travel, even if the provider does not have a direct link to the terrorist crime.
The amendments are being sent to Egypt’s State Council for its review. A final parliamentary vote will likely then send it to President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi to ratify.
The amendments also tack on life sentences and the death penalty for a range of crimes related to funding terrorist attacks or terrorist-designated groups, said Bahaa Abu Shakq, head of the Parliament’s constitutional and legislative affairs committee.

The law already gives heavy prison sentences for crimes that include promoting or encouraging any “terrorist offence.” These can extend to damaging state institutions or infrastructure, such as military or government buildings, power and gas lines, and archaeological sites. The original 2015 law prompted concern from Egyptian lawyers, rights groups, and even some politicians and senior judges. The law and the amendments are part of an unprecedented crackdown on dissent waged by El-Sissi since coming to power in 2013. Read more - Lire plus
Russia: Harsh Verdicts in Controversial Terrorism Cases
Human Rights Watch 12/02/2020 - Russian military courts handed down guilty verdicts on February 5 and 10, 2020 in three separate, deeply flawed terrorism cases in which the defendants alleged incommunicado detention, torture, and other ill-treatment to extract confessions , Human Rights Watch said today. A total of 18 defendants in the cases were sentenced to prison terms ranging from six to 23 years.

The trials were also marred by the prosecution and judges’ refusal to rigorously investigate complaints of abuse, and by their reliance on dubious expert analysis and use of anonymous “secret witnesses.” In one of the cases, the very existence of the alleged terrorist organization remains in question. “These are three cases in different parts of Russia, but what unites them is the authorities’ refusal to rigorously investigate the defendants’ credible claims of abuse,” said Hugh Williamson , Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “These defendants didn’t get a fair trial. The verdicts should be quashed, and allegations of fabrications and ill-treatment adequately investigated.”

One case involves “Network” (Set, in Russian), which the Federal Security Service (FSB) allege to be a terrorist organization created in St. Petersburg and Penza, among other places. The authorities claimed the defendants planned to destabilize the country through violence, including during the 2018 presidential elections and the World Cup. The prosecution did not argue that the defendants planned any specific acts of violence. The seven defendants convicted on February 10, aged between 23 and 31, were sentenced to prison terms ranging from six to 18 years.

The second case involves an alleged leader of the entire Russian branch of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a pan-Islamist group that Russia’s Supreme Court banned in 2003, categorizing it as a terrorist organization . Hizb ut-Tahrir seeks to establish a caliphate but does not espouse violence to achieve it. A court sentenced the defendant, Eduard Nizamov, to 23 years in maximum security prison. Finally, five days earlier in a separate criminal case, another 10 alleged members of Hizb ut-Tahrir were handed prison terms ranging from 11 to 22 years.

In the “Network” case, the Privolzhski District Military Court convicted the defendants on charges of creating and participating in a terrorist organization, as well as of trafficking in explosives and arms and attempted narcotics trafficking. The defendants are Dmitriy Pchelintsev, Ilya Shakurskiy, Andrey Chernov, Maksim Ivankin, Mikhail Kulkov, Vasiliy Kuskov, and Arman Sangynbayev. Some of the men were antifascist activists, and others described themselves as anarchists or left- wing activists, and their supporters alleged that this case is part of a broader crackdown on radical leftist groups. Russian media reported that some of the defendants did not even know each other , but shared views and hobbies. Some had played a game similar to paintball that sometimes simulates battles or quests in forested areas. The prosecution claimed the game was in fact military training to prepare for an unspecified coup.

Several defendants alleged during court proceedings and beforehand that authorities beat them and used electric shocks to extract testimony. But the authorities claimed that a preliminary inquiry by the military department of the investigative committee, Russia’s chief criminal investigative agency, established the defendants’ injuries were from an attempted escape, and the court and the prosecution accepted this explanation without further inquiry. Another suspect in the same case who later fled the country consulted a physician and state forensic physician to document his injuries. In response to his formal complaint, the authorities claimed that marks on his body consistent with the use of an electroshock weapon were “insect bites.” The defense team alleged that during the trial, the court accepted statements by four anonymized “secret witnesses” and allegedly rigged evidence . Read more - Lire plus

Remembering Bob Stevenson
It was with deep sadness that we learned this week of the death of Bob Stevenson, a long-time and dedicated activist for justice and peace in Ottawa. A member of Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice, Bob was an active supporter of the ICLMG and never missed an ICLMG assembly. He was a constant, energizing presence at events and actions in Ottawa, especially in support of both Mohamed Harkat and Hassan Diab. He will be dearly missed. We send our condolences to his wife Linda, their children, their grandchildren and the rest of his family, friends and community.

Friends and family are welcome to attend a visitation at the Garden Chapel of Tubman Funeral Homes, 3440 Richmond Road, Nepean (between Bayshore and Baseline Rd.) on Friday, February 14, 2020 from 6 to 8 p.m. A Celebration of his life will be held in the Chapel on Saturday, February 15, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. 

A memorial will also be organized at First Unitarian in Ottawa at a later date.
2019 has been very busy, and we are looking at a busy year 2020! Before giving you the summary of what we've been up to in the second half of 2019, here are a few things we will do in 2020:

  • We will continue to call for justice for Dr. Hassan Diab’s case and for the reform of the Extradition Act.

  • We will monitor the implementation of the National Security Act, 2017 (formerly Bill C-59), especially around mass surveillance and immunity for CSIS employees, in order to protect our civil liberties.

  • We will continue to push for a strong and effective review mechanism for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

  • We will continue advocating for the repeal of the Canadian No Fly List, as it violates mobility rights and due process, and for putting a stop to the use of the US No Fly List by air carriers in Canada for flights that do not land in or fly over the US, as it violates both our rights and Canada’s sovereignty.

Release Yasser Albaz from arbitrary detention in Egypt
UPDATE : On Tuesday, Yasser will have been detained without charge for a year - take action now!

On February 18, 2019, my dad, Yasser Albaz, was stopped at Cairo airport, his Canadian passport was confiscated, and he was kidnapped by Egyptian State Security. My dad remains in the notorious Torah prison where he is forced to sleep on cold, concrete floor. He has not been charged and continues to receive 15-day extensions to his arbitrary detention.

Sign to tell PM Justin Trudeau to do everything in their power to bring this Canadian citizen home to his family.

Canada must act to end Islamophobia in Xinjiang, China
There is credible evidence that up to one million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other mainly Muslim groups in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region are being detained in secret internment camps. Detainees are brainwashed, tortured and are forced to renounce their religion and culture.

And send a message to Chrystia Freeland demanding that Canada actively support an independent and unrestricted international fact-finding initiative to Xinjiang.
Send a letter opposing cameras in the ByWard Market
Send a letter in support of CAMS Ottawa's response to Mayor Watson. While we share concerns about ongoing violence in the Market, installing surveillance cameras is not an appropriate solution. The very premise that CCTV can deter violent crime is highly doubtful. Video surveillance also raise significant concerns regarding the treatment of marginalized members of our community. We urge you to take the above problems and the following evidence into consideration and reconsider implementing such an ineffective, costly, and intrusive system.
Your phone is not safe at the border
Canada’s border agents can search your phone and laptop at borders and airports, including looking through your private photos, personal messages, and call history.

These ‘digital strip searches’ are allowed because our laws are incredibly out of date. But politicians are refusing to update them for our digital age.

Fight back with us: demand updated laws , learn more about your rights, and make a complaint if your privacy has been violated at the border.
Stop CSIS from targeting everyday citizens & community groups
A recent report revealed that CSIS, Canada’s spy agency, collected over 8,000 pages of documents, spying on citizens like you, people who exercise their democratic rights by attending a community meeting at a local church or taking peaceful action for what they believe in. And CSIS shared this info with Big Oil corporations.

Sign this petition to tell the govt to stop using taxpayer money to unconstitutionally spy on Canadians part of peaceful community groups.
Stop Facial Recognition in Canada
Facial recognition is invasive, biased and unreliable. But Canadian agencies and law enforcement have started using the tech despite the huge controversies.
Canada’s out-of-date privacy laws don’t yet cover facial recognition tech, leaving our government free to experiment on us with no oversight or regulations. We need to slam the brakes on the spread of this dangerous technology before it’s too late. Demand a moratorium on the use of facial recognition technologies and a full review of our privacy laws — before it becomes entrenched as a surveillance method in Canada.
Free Ahmed Mansoor
Ahmed is an award winning human rights defender and blogger. The UAE has said Ahmed had been arrested for using his social media accounts to “publish false information that damages the country’s reputation” and to “spread hatred and sectarianism”. Right now, Ahmed is being held in solitary confinement and has not had access to a lawyer, an d he is on hunger strike. Act now and demand that the UAE release Ahmed immediately and unconditionally. TWITTER ACTION
All-in-one action page: Stop Mohamed Harkat's Deportation to Torture
Call PM Trudeau, write a letter to Public Safety Minister & your MP, and sign Sophie Harkat's petition to stop the deportation of Moe Harkat.

If sent back to Algeria, Moe faces detention, torture and death.

No one should be deported to torture. Ever.
OPP must be held accountable for violent repression of land defenders
The terrifying incident happened in April 2008 during a land occupation and road blockades by members of Tyendinaga Mohawk Nation, near Belleville, Ontario. Although the road blockades involved only a small number of community members – none of whom were armed -- the Ontario Provincial Police sent more than 200 officers, including the Tactics and Rescue Unit (TRU), tasked with responding to “the most serious threats to peace and order”. The UN Committee against Torture called on Canada to launch a thorough and impartial review to ensure accountability.
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.
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. 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.
Make January 29 a National Day
On Jan. 29, 2017, a lone gunman entered a mosque in Quebec City and opened fire on dozens of Muslim-Canadian worshipers. By the time the shooting had ended, six had been tragically killed, and 19 more injured. 

 W e, citizens and residents of Canada, call on the government of Canada to henceforth designate January 29th as a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia and other forms of religious discrimination or a National Day of Action against Hate and Intolerance .
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
Mary Ann Higgs
Kevin Malseed
Brian Murphy
Karen Seabrooke
Bob Stevenson
Colin Stuart
James Turk
Jo Wood

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!