Al-Qaeda suspect wants back in jail to protest bail: wife

Terrorism suspect Mohammad Mahjoub is fed up with "oppressive" bail conditions being imposed on his whole family and wants to be returned to jail as an act of protest, his wife said Tuesday.

Terrorism suspect Mohammad Mahjoub is fed up with "oppressive" bail conditions being imposed on his whole family and wants to be returned to jail as an act of protest, his wife said Tuesday.

Mohammad Mahjoub, seen in an undated family photo, spent seven years in a Canadian jail as a terrorism suspect. ((Toronto Star/Canadian Press))

The family is expected to appear in a Toronto court Wednesday, where they will ask that Mohammad Mahjoub be returned to custody, a request he also made about a year ago.

In 2007, a Federal Court judge ordered he be freed on bail pending a review of his case.

He had been in custody since June 2000 on suspicions of terrorist links and was being held on a security certificate, which allows federal authorities to detain suspects deemed to pose a threat to national security without having to lay charges or disclose evidence. He was accused of being linked to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

When Mahjoub asked to be taken back into custody last March, authorities refused, saying he had not breached any of his bail conditions.

Now, his wife, Mona, will ask a court to withdraw her status as a surety in a bid to have her husband returned to jail.

"He's going to surrender himself, not because he breached any of the conditions, just because of the oppressive way [authorities] are interpreting the conditions and using it against the family," she said Tuesday in an interview.

"They keep oppressing the family and we can't take it anymore. There are children involved, and they're in a way violating the rights of every member of the family."

In being released, Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley ordered that Mahjoub remain under house arrest, not be left alone, wear an electronic monitoring device, post a $32,500 release bond, be forbidden from contacting certain people and not possess any electronic equipment that could transmit information, such as a cellphone or internet-capable computer. 

Late last year, the Federal Court ordered an end to the monitoring of phone conversations between Mahjoub and his lawyers.   

The issue erupted after a secret hearing in Ottawa in which a senior security agent revealed the Canadian Security Intelligence Service had been tapping Mahjoub's phone calls.   

The revelation incensed Mahjoub's lawyers. They argued their client's consent to phone monitoring never included calls with lawyers, noting the right to confidentiality between lawyer and client is protected under the Constitution.

Critics have long denounced the security-certificate system, which can lead to deportation of non-citizens on the basis of secret intelligence presented to a Federal Court judge at closed-door hearings.

In 2007, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled 9-0 that the certificates, as they were used at the time, violated the Charter of Rights. The court ordered the federal government to rewrite the law to heighten legal protections for suspects.