Home//In The News//Canadian woman who spent two years in Syrian prison camp improperly being investigated for terrorism and war crimes, her lawyer claims

‘As indicated by the Supreme Court it is up to the state to prove its case and an accused should not be conscripted into helping the state do this’

Police may be using a Crown application to have a Canadian woman deemed a terrorism threat to “improperly” investigate her for war crimes and other offences, her lawyer says.

In a document filed to support his application for court-ordered disclosure, Calgary defence counsel Yoav Niv says he’s concerned the Crown’s bid to have his client enter into a recognizance as a potential terror threat is being used for other purposes.

The prosecution has applied to have a judge determine there is a reasonable fear the woman, who spent two years in a Syrian prison camp and was only allowed to return to Canada late last year from Iraq to be reunited with her five-year-old daughter, is a terrorism threat.

There is a publication ban on her identity.

Under Section 810.011 of the Criminal Code, a party may seek a judicial order to have a person sign an undertaking to abide by restrictions if a judge is satisfied there are reasonable grounds to fear that person may commit a terrorism offence.

Those restrictions could include house arrest and electronic monitoring for up to 12 months.

But in his court filing, Niv suggests authorities may be using the application to investigate her criminally in violation of her right against self-incrimination.

“There is concern the 810.011 recognizance is being used improperly in furtherance of a criminal investigation whereby the applicant is being compelled to assist in her own prosecution,” Niv wrote in the application filed in provincial court last week.

“The applicant is being compelled to communicate information against her will in order to provide a gateway to evidence. As indicated by the Supreme Court, it is up to the state to prove its case and an accused should not be conscripted into helping the state do this.”

He noted his client was arrested Nov. 22 on her return to Canada and has since been released on strict bail conditions pending the terrorism-threat hearing set for March, including GPS monitoring.

Niv said when her bail supervisors attended at her residence for the purpose of complying with the monitoring conditions, she was told she was under investigation for terrorism offences under the Criminal Code and war crimes under the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act.

The woman’s child, who was born in Syria, came to Canada earlier last year to live with her aunt.

The woman’s months-long struggle to make it home highlights the plight of several Canadians among the estimated thousands of foreign nationals held in Syrian camps by Kurdish forces that reclaimed the strife-torn region from the militant Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

In 2014, she left Canada for Turkey, soon travelling to Syria.

“Shortly thereafter, I realized that I had been manipulated into going to that country,” she said in an affidavit filed in Federal Court.

“While in Syria, there were several times that I tried to leave, but I was not allowed to do so. I was moved around numerous times. I was not allowed to speak to my family or friends.”

Niv’s disclosure application is set for Monday.

Original Article: https://calgaryherald.com/news/crime/canadian-woman-who-spent-two-years-in-syrian-prison-camp-improperly-being-investigated-for-terrorism-and-war-crimes-her-lawyer-claims

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