CSIS lawyers want spies identities kept secret in Abdelrazik case

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OTTAWA – Canada’s spy company desires to protect the identities of 5 present and former staff from the general public after they testify within the lawsuit of a Montreal man who was detained in Sudan – prompting vehement objections from the person’s lawyer.

In newly filed court docket paperwork, federal attorneys say the Canadian Safety Intelligence Service identities should be stored confidential with a purpose to defend the people from private hurt and to make sure the service can proceed to work successfully.


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It’s the newest authorized spat within the long-running case of Abousfian Abdelrazik, who’s suing the Canadian authorities for an apology and compensation over his prolonged abroad detention.

Abdelrazik, 56, arrived in Canada from Africa as a refugee in 1990. He turned a Canadian citizen 5 years later.

He was arrested throughout a 2003 go to to Sudan to see household. In custody, Abdelrazik was interrogated by CSIS about suspected extremist hyperlinks. He claims he was tortured by Sudanese intelligence officers throughout two intervals of detention, although Canada says it knew nothing of the purported abuse.

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Abdelrazik denies any involvement in terrorism, and civil proceedings towards the federal government are slated to start Monday within the Federal Courtroom of Canada.

The federal attorneys, backed by an affidavit from a senior CSIS official, are asking the Federal Courtroom for an order that can allow the spy service witnesses to testify in open court docket whereas guaranteeing their names and bodily look are stored from the general public, Abdelrazik and his counsel.

All 5 staff have “labored in a covert operational capability” and divulging their identities would put them susceptible to private hurt, given the threats which can be ceaselessly made towards the service and its staff, the federal submission says.

The federal government proposes the 5 “protected witnesses” be allowed to enter and go away the courtroom through a particular entrance, take an oath in a separate room and testify whereas hidden by a display or via videoconference in a way that obscures their faces.

The witnesses would supply their actual names in writing to the decide and the required court docket employees previous to testifying.

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Of their submission, federal attorneys say the association “strikes an applicable steadiness” between the normal tenet of open court docket proceedings and the necessity to preserve secrecy. “The open court docket precept shouldn’t be absolute, and should, in applicable instances, be restricted for causes of nationwide safety, the security of people, and the right administration of justice.”

Abdelrazik’s lawyer, Paul Champ, calls the federal request “a gross overreach.”

“In some instances the identification of undercover law enforcement officials are protected, but it surely’s just for a restricted interval and with proof of a particular hazard or risk. There may be none of that right here. And why ought to CSIS get extra safety than the police?” Champ mentioned.

“There must be accountability and people accountable shouldn’t be allowed to cover within the shadows.”

He plans to file written arguments with the court docket opposing the confidentiality calls for later this week. This disagreement shouldn’t be anticipated to delay the trial because the witnesses aren’t scheduled to look for a number of weeks.

The federal submission notes the CSIS Act makes it an offence to call an worker “who was, is or is more likely to turn out to be engaged in covert operational actions” of the service.

Senior CSIS personnel who seem in public boards are usually recognized publicly. Present CSIS director David Vigneault is anticipated to testify overtly on the Abdelrazik trial.


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Nonetheless, federal attorneys contend the 5 different witnesses in query should be shielded given the threats to intelligence personnel posed by terrorist organizations such because the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and hostile intelligence seeking to exploit such alternatives.

Additionally they cite the current British expenses towards two alleged Russian intelligence officers in relation to the tried homicide of double agent Sergei Skripal, his daughter and a police officer with a military-grade nerve agent.

Threats towards CSIS personnel have additionally come from people encountered throughout spy service investigations, says the affidavit from the senior spy service official, recognized solely as “David” consistent with the company’s arguments for anonymity.

“These have included threats uttered throughout interviews, projectiles thrown at vehicles, being approached with weapons and receiving threatening voice messages,” says the affidavit.

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