Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Ottawa Police on the job

Ottawa police yesterday scooped up Sophie Lamarche-Harkat, spouse of Mohamed Harkat, who has been held without trial on one of Canada's infamous security certificates for nearly three years. Could her "crime" have been that she has been speaking out noisily and publicly, and collecting money on behalf of her husband, who is now facing deportation to Algeria and torture on arrival?

One of the indefatigable Sophie's many activities has been to set up a bail fund for Mohamed, prior to an upcoming judicial review of his detention. The aim is to raise $50,000 on the off-chance that bail is actually granted. While at the bank attending to the account at about 10:15 a.m. yesterday, she was arrested by between six and eight of Ottawa’s finest, handcuffed, held for hours at the Elgin Street police station, told she could be arrested again at any time, and released at 4:00 in the afternoon without charge or condition. The ostensible reason for the arrest was, reportedly, an allegation of fraud related to a draft deposited in the account.

But this does raise questions. Does it really take half a dozen or more officers to arrest one peaceful woman doing business in a bank? (Remember, this is the same Ottawa Police crying poor and demanding an 8% rise in their 2006 budget. It would seem, from this incident, that they have a lot of time on their hands.) If there wasn't even enough evidence to warrant laying a charge, why the overkill?

I'll be keeping a close eye on this matter, and updating readers on developments.

No comments: