Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Federal Court judge agrees Egyptian man a threat to Canada

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TORONTO -- A judge upheld the federal government's branding of an Egyptian man as a threat to Canada after finding the evidence -- including being "trusted" by Osama bin Laden -- supported Ottawa's assertion he was involved with terrorist groups.

Federal Court Judge Edmond Blanchard determined the evidence constituted "reasonable grounds to believe" Mohamed Mahjoub was a member of two groups engaged in terrorism.

Mahjoub "had contacts in Canada and abroad with Al Jihad and Vanguards of Conquest terrorists," according to a summary of Blanchard's findings released Friday in support of his ruling handed down in October.

Based on secret evidence that was in part supplied by foreign agencies linked to torture, the government had alleged Mahjoub was a senior member of Vanguards of Conquest and was also involved with Al Jihad, both Egyptian terrorist groups.

In his decision, Blanchard upheld the national security certificate Ottawa imposed on Mahjoub that has severely restricted his freedom for the past 13 years, even though the judge also found the government violated his constitutional rights. Blanchard ruled the breaches by the government and Canada's spy service had either been remedied or weren't serious enough to warrant throwing out the case.

Mahjoub -- who has never been charged with any crime -- has denied any terrorist links. He has fought efforts to deport him, citing the risk he would be tortured in Egypt.

The newly released reasoning states Blanchard found the 53-year-old father of three from Toronto used "aliases to conceal his terrorist contacts" and was "complicit" in al-Qaida weapons training in Sudan.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 7, 2013 A23

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