Court orders release of suspected terrorist on hunger strike

Mohammad Mahjoub, an Egyptian held in Canada without charge for years as a suspected terrorist, is to be released pending a review of his case.

Mohammad Mahjoub, anEgyptian held in Canada without charge for years as a suspected terrorist,isto be released pending a review of his case.

The Federal Court decision was released Thursday, the 84th day of Mahjoub's hunger strike to protest his treatment.

"I wish to stress that this will amount to a form of house arrest and that Mr. Mahjoub will be returned to custodial detention if he violates the terms and conditions," Justice Richard Mosley wrote inthe decision.

Mosley also saidhe believes Mahjoub perjured himself and still poses a potential danger to Canadian society.

Among the conditions of release are that Mahjoub:

  • Wears an electronic monitoring device.
  • Posts a $32,500 release bond.
  • Resides with his wife in Toronto.

"We wish it hadn't taken this long," said Mahjoub's lawyer, John Norris. "We find it tremendously heartening that judges are now looking at these cases and are seeing that release terms can be fashioned. "

'We are completely in the dark'

Mahjoub's wife, Mona Elfouli, told the CBC Thursday shehas been getting calls from friends, supporters and the media all day.

Elfouli saidshe criedThursday morning when she was told that her husband will soon come home to their two children. Butsheadded her family's ordeal is far from over.

"There's still the fight going on for security certificates itself, for [pieces of]evidence we don't know what they are," she said. "We are completely in the dark. I need to find the truth."

Mahjoub, 46, has been held since 2000 on a security certificate that allows detention without charge or disclosure of evidence. Hewas accused of being linked to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

He was ordered deported in 2004 even though Ottawa agreed he might be tortured if returned to the country of his birth.

In December, a Federal Court judge ruled that decision to be "patently unreasonable" and ordered the government to review his case.

Mahjoub is one of five people being held by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service on security certificates based on secret evidence. Under federal law, the government can hold a suspect indefinitely if it can convince a judge that the suspect is a threat.

Mahjoub has consistently alleged that prison guards have beaten and humiliated him during his detention. Healso says the guards have encouraged other prisoners to beat him up.

With files from the Canadian Press