The newspaper spoke to lawyers representing the two men, who both categorically deny their clients are involved in any terror plot.
“The fact that this information is coming out now is very suspect,” Paul Champ said in French to La Presse, accusing authorities of trying to sabatoge an attempt by his client Abdelrazik to remove his name from the United Nations’ terror watchlist.
Johanne Doyon, Charkaoui’s lawyer, pointed to federal court judgments from 2009 that ruled there was insufficient evidence to suspect her client of terrorism and lifted the strict conditions imposed by the security certificate under which he was detained and monitored for six years.
This document has never been disclosed to either man’s legal team, nor has it been made public in court proceedings.
Abdelrazik’s legal team believes a federal court judge did see the document as part of security certificate hearings for Charkaoui in 2007, at which secret evidence was presented. The ruling in that case said that the information in the document remains unproven.
Speaking to reporters on Friday morning on a conference call from Thailand where he is travelling on government business, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney would not comment on specific government intelligence about these two men.
However, he did say that “when the government takes the position that someone should be under a security certificate, or that a Canadian overseas is on the UN no-fly list because of suspected membership in al-Qaeda, when we take such positions it’s not based on a hunch, it’s not based on innuendo, it’s not based on speculation. It’s based on very robust intelligence and Canada only takes such measures against such individuals when it believes that they constitute a real threat to national security.”
Kenney also had a warning for those who’d been working with Charkaoui and Abdelrazik to clear their names, or had gone “to the extent of treating such people as folk heroes.”
“All I can say is that I hope those who form these political support groups for individuals who have been the focus of security certificates or similar extraordinary efforts on the part of government think very carefully about this,” added Kenney. “I hope that people will realize that the government does not take these measures lightly, and that these measures are only taken on the basis of very compelling evidence that such individuals mean Canada harm and no good.”
A total of six men would have been involved in the plane bomb plot discussed by Abdelrazik and Charkaoui, according to the CSIS document, written in 2004 to share intelligence with Transport Canada authorities. At the time, Abdelrazik had been arrested by authorities in his native Sudan, but he was about to be released.
Abdelrazik’s journey back to Canada took years. He spent a year living on the grounds of the Canadian embassy in Sudan before the government was ordered to allow his repatriation in the summer of 2009.
The document also mentions traces of explosives found by CSIS in an unspecified search of Abdelrazik’s vehicle in 2001. The service had been monitoring his activities since 1996. The document says Abdelrazik went to an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan in 1997, and later went to Chechnya to fight the Russian army.
Charkaoui has always maintained that Abdelrazik is only a casual acquaintance.
CBC News has not been able to see or authenticate the document on which