Suspected Egyptian terrorist detained without charge still a threat, govt says


Colin Perkel, Canadian Press

Published: Wednesday, October 04, 2006  TORONTO (CP) - An Egyptian refugee claimant detained for five years without charge as a suspected terrorist ought to remain behind bars because he still poses a critical threat to public safety, a government lawyer said Tuesday.

In urging that Mahmoud Jaballah be denied bail for a third time, Crown lawyer Donald MacIntosh argued that no court-imposed conditions would be stringent enough to contain the risk. "He is a danger to national security," MacIntosh told Federal Court Justice Carol Layden-Stevenson. "No terms and conditions could neutralize the threat."

Jaballah, 43, a married father of six, has been in detention under an unprecedented second national security certificate since August 2001. He has long denied having any links to terrorism.

MacIntosh spent much of Day 2 of the hearing prodding Jaballah about his acquaintances. He questioned Jaballah extensively about contact he had with the London-based International Office for the Defence of Egyptian People after his arrival in Canada in 1996. Jaballah, speaking via video link from an eastern Ontario detention centre, said he was simply looking for help with his refugee claim, but MacIntosh charged the group was a front for the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, "a terrorist organization closely linked to al-Qaida.

" Defence lawyer Barbara Jackman interjected that there was no evidence to support MacIntosh's claim. Jaballah said he would never have contacted the London group had he known it to have terrorist links. "I have nothing in common with these people," he said. Jaballah also took issue with MacIntosh's suggestion that he was being furtive by introducing himself to new acquaintances as Abu Ahmed or "Father of Ahmed." Muslims customarily identify themselves as the father of their eldest son, Jaballah explained. Swept up in Egypt's mass crackdown on Muslim extremism in 1981 after the assassination of President Anwar Sadat, Jaballah was detained seven times.

He was never charged with any crime but spent four years in jail over the following decade. Although he has not been allowed to see the evidence against him, Jaballah argues that Canadian security officials have relied on bad information from Cairo. Jaballah, who claimed refugee status in Canada in 1996, says he'll be tortured or killed if sent back to Egypt, a country with documented human-rights violations.

Pending the outcome of his battle to remain in Canada, Jaballah's lawyers argue that stringent bail conditions would ensure public safety. They cite those imposed on Mohamed Harkat, a terrorist suspect in Ottawa who was granted bail in June. Harkat - who now faces deportation to Algeria - must wear an electronic tracking device and obtain permission to leave his home, among other restrictions. Outside court, MacIntosh refused to say why Jaballah might be deemed more dangerous than Harkat.  

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