Skip to comments.Alleged Canadian al-Qaeda 'Sleeper' Agent Set to Testify
Posted on 10/25/2004 5:51:29 PM PDT by NorthOf45
Alleged Canadian al-Qaeda 'sleeper' agent set to testify
October 25, 2004
OTTAWA - A man accused of being a member of al-Qaeda appeared in an Ottawa federal court Monday to fight deportation to Algeria, where he fears he may be killed.
Canadian authorities arrested Mohammed Harkat nearly two years ago on a national security certificate, which allows Ottawa to deport non-Canadian citizens considered a security risk.
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service says Abu Zubaydah, a senior al-Qaeda member now in custody, told American authorities he helped train Harkat in Afghanistan.
CSIS thinks Harkat was sent to Canada as a "sleeper" agent, meaning an operative prepared to carry out attacks who does not become active until a later date.
Harkat, who denies any extremist links, is expected to testify in his defence later this week. His lawyer said it was hard to defend the man when CSIS, citing national security concerns, need not disclose its evidence to anyone but presiding Judge Eleanor Dawson.
"How do we as counsel deal with those issues? How do we establish that he wasn't in Afghanistan other than him standing up and saying 'I was never there'?" said Toronto attorney Paul Copeland.
Harkat's Canadian wife, Sophie, said the stakes were high.
"If the certificate is deemed reasonable, then he will be deported, labelled a presumed terrorist by the Canadian government, and the Algerian government will probably execute him on his way there," she said.
Algeria-born Harkat moved to Canada nine years ago, using a fake Saudi Arabian passport. He applied for refugee status, married and worked as a pizza delivery man.
In an interview with the CBC earlier in October, Harkat denied he knew Zubaydah or that he's a member of al-Qaeda. "I just want to say, you have to believe me. I'm not that kind of guy. That's it," a tearful Harkat said.
Harkat is one of five Muslim men who have been held for as long as four years in Canadian prisons without charge on the controversial national security certificates. CSIS considers the men to be threats to national security because of alleged ties to extremist groups.
"Who is it?"
"Pizza Delivery Man!"
"No you're not, you're that Terrorist."
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