Op-Ed: "Canadian Anti-Terror Law on Trial: The Toronto Terrorism Arrests" by Kent Roach

June 10, 2006

Source: Jurist


On June 10, 2006 Jurist ran an opinion piece by Kent Roach, a professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and the author of "September 11: Consequences for Canada," on the legal implications of the recent terrorism arrests. Roach writes, "The arrest of twelve adults and five youths on terrorism charges in Toronto has resulted in world-wide attention on Canada’s anti-terrorism efforts... The men have been charged with a variety of crimes under the Anti-Terrorism Act that was added with considerable controversy to Canada’s Criminal Code in late 2001. Only one other person, Mohammad Momin Khawaja, has been charged under the new law... Prior to these charges, Canada had mainly used immigration law powers against suspected terrorists, including five non-citizens suspected of terrorism. Canadian authorities had used an immigration law procedure known as a security certificate which can apply to non-citizens if there are reasonable grounds to believe they were a member of an organization that there are reasonable grounds to believe engages, has engaged or will engage in terrorism and prohibits disclosure of information to the detainee that would injure national security or the safety of any person. The seventeen persons, mainly teens and those in the early twenties, charged in Toronto, however, mainly grew up in Canada and most are Canadian citizens, so the immigration law approach was not an option that could be used." In the article, Roach examines in-depth the particularities of the anti-terrorism law under which the 17 men were arrested.