Feb 8, 2007
Land of Swine and Maple Syrup
Charkaoui supporters attack report he told CSIS about jihad recruiting
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 | 6:58 PM ET
Adil Charkaoui's supporters are criticizing published reports that suggest the Montreal man accused of terrorist activities knew about local recruiting efforts for potential jihadis.
In a written statement, Charkaoui's supporters denounced what they called an "attack" on his reputation made in a report published in the National Post Wednesday, and questioned its timing, as one of his cases is going to court at the end of the month.
Charkaoui, who was arrested under a ministerial security certificate in 2003, has launched several legal cases to fight allegations he is a sleeper agent for al-Qaeda.
He has since been released under strict bail conditions.
In an April 2001 interview with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Charkaoui described how members of the city's Arab community were being recruited for jihad, or holy war, according to the newspaper report, which is based on a previously undisclosed summary of the exchange.
The summary was recently added to federal court records in Charkaoui's ongoing challenge of the ministerial security certificate under which he was arrested. The security certificates, which allowed the federal government to arrest and detain people considered a threat to national security, were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada last February, but that decision left detainees in legal limbo because the federal government was given a year to come up with alternative legislation.
CSIS says it only uncovered a record of the interview last month, because it had been misplaced due to a transcription or administrative error.
Charkaoui's supporters say the timing of the discovery is suspicious, given that the Supreme Court will soon hear his arguments alleging bias in his case, based on CSIS's previous admission that it destroyed some records of interviews in his file.
According to the summary, Charkaoui does not admit to participating in any recruitment, but was very familiar with recruiting methods in Montreal.
He told investigators how recruiters would attend mosques and other "nerve centres" to find young recruits.
Charkaoui is also said to describe how young people picked as targets were submitted to various undisclosed tests related to jihad.
The allegations in the document have not been proven in court.