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Adil Charkaoui, who is accused of having al-Qaeda ties, speaks to reporters in Ottawa on Sept.29, 2009. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Adil Charkaoui, who is accused of having al-Qaeda ties, speaks to reporters in Ottawa on Sept.29, 2009. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Terror suspect demands apology from Ottawa Add to ...

On the eve of what he hopes will be his final court hearing, Adil Charkaoui held a "preventative" news conference on Parliament Hill urging the Conservative government to give up the fight against him and apologize.

The Montreal man accused by Ottawa of being an al-Qaeda operative is still celebrating his victory last week in Federal Court, which allowed him to walk out of the hearing a free man and tear off his electronic leg monitor in front of the cameras.

That sudden ruling by Mr. Justice Danièle Tremblay-Lamer in Montreal last Thursday will be made official at a closed-door hearing Wednesday.

Mr. Charkaoui said it is clear to him that the judge's decision effectively ends the government's ability to use the controversial security certificate process used to detain and monitor him, as well as four other men with such cases still before the courts.

However Mr. Charkaoui is concerned that his battle with Ottawa might not be over. He urged the government not to seek leave to appeal the Federal Court decision.

"This is a preventative press conference," said Mr. Charkaoui, who spoke along with his supporters from Montreal and MPs from the NDP and Bloc Québécois. "This case stood on nothing and has collapsed."

A spokesperson for Justice Minister Rob Nicholson declined comment Tuesday, citing the fact that the issue is currently before the courts.

Mr. Charkaoui said he hopes the government will not keep fighting the case in court, as it has in the cases of Omar Khadr, the young Canadian held in Guantanamo Bay, and that of Montrealer Abousfian Abdelrazik, who recently returned home after a six-year ordeal in Sudan after fighting attempts by federal lawyers to keep him out of Canada.

The Charkaoui case took a surprising turn this month when federal lawyers revealed that rather than complying with a judge's order to disclose sensitive intelligence, they would rather withdraw their evidence from the court. The government has indicated in court that it views Mr. Charkaoui to be less of a security threat than the risk posed by revealing intelligence sources.

Mr. Charkaoui has not yet sued Ottawa for compensation but indicated Tuesday he deserves something for the harm done to his reputation, his profession as a teacher and his ability to visit his family in Morocco.

"I have a very long list of abuses. You can't imagine," he said. "I didn't say today that I will seek compensation. I said if I do it, I really deserve it."

 

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