Hassan Almrei Awaits Bail Decision as he Marks 27 Months in Solitary Confinement.

Toronto, January 19, 2004 -- Shortly after Syrian refugee Hassan Almrei marked his third straight birthday in solitary confinement January 1, he marked another unenviable anniversary January 19: 27 months in solitary confinement at Toronto's Metro West Detention Centre.

Held without charge under the secret trial security certificate, Hassan is, remarkably, still smiling, still joking, still hoping, despite the Canadian government's ongoing attempt to deport him to torture and death in Syria.

He's certainly a lot warmer during the latest deep freeze than he was the past two winters, when he feared he would die from the intense cold. But the heat in his cell was no mere gift from the Ministry of Public Security. Rather, Hassan came within inches of losing his life to get that heat, undergoing a 39-day hunger strike to guarantee heat and a pair of rubber-soled shoes, the kind worn by prisoners in general population. A court decision which came down December 19 solidified that guarantee.

Now, Hassan and his supporters are dreaming of a positive bail decision following three more days of an application for release held in Toronto January 5&endash;7. Anyone attending was treated not only to an amazing teach-in on some recent history of Afghanistan, but also to Almrei's own testimony on his behalf.



As in any of these security certificate matters, any attempt to introduce a glimpse of some potential truth that is not tainted by bias or secrecy is immediately objected to by government lawyers. And so it begins, following the holiday break, that the lawyer for the "Justice" Dept. and CSIS, Donald MacIntosh, is immediately on his feet when Almrei's attorney, Barbara Jackman, attempts to introduce two knowledgeable witnesses to discuss some important historical and political context about which neither Federal Court Judge Edmond Blanchard, nor most Canadians for that matter, are likely to have a clue.

Indeed, when CSIS says that Hassan Almrei has been in Afghanistan, it's important to understand when and why he was there. Otherwise, given the barrage of news coverage these past few years, most people's immediate reaction would be to make the equation "Afghanistan = terrorist." Indeed, few seem to remember that following the Soviet invasion of that country, western powers including the U.S. actively recruited, trained, and funded the anti-Soviet resistance.

Fewer still would either recall or know in the first place that the anti-Soviet fight was in some ways the equivalent of the Spanish Civil War for idealistic young Arabs of that generation, who went by the thousands to try and expel the Russians.

But in a secret trial in Canada, the government and CSIS rely on the ability to not only go behind closed doors, without the targetted individual and their lawyer, but to also try and shut down any discussion of context in the open portion of the hearing.

And so it is that MacIntosh is telling the judge, "We should decline to hear these witnesses, or place limited weight on them," arguing that the evidence they plan to present -- evidence which he has not yet heard -- is irrelevant. MacIntosh has seen some written statements by both of the witnesses Jackman hopes to call.

For example, MacIntosh says, one statement indicating that many people went to Afghanistan because they wanted to be in the heart of a just cause, and not necessarily to fight, is deemed suspect. "Maybe that's true, but it's not proper evidence," he says, without any trace of irony. Indeed, government attorneys such as himself have no problem with that part of the immigration act under which secret trials are arranged which states "the judge may receive into evidence anything that, in the opinion of the judge, is appropriate, even if it is inadmissable in a court of law, and may base the decision on that evidence."

Indeed, CSIS and its lawyers do this all the time, tendering as "evidence" speculation, hearsay, feelings, faded photocopies of newspaper and web articles, declarations which they know to be false or misleading, and much more. They feel so confident doing this they feel they can determine what is and is not proper evidence. It is a truly Orwellian nightmare. If one actually gets a CSIS officer on the stand for examination of this "evidence," any questions which prove too uncomfortable are met with the standard, "I cannot get into that, it's national security."

But MacIntosh spends a number of hours arguing his case anyway. He points to another statement and says "this is the type of thing which would appear an in academic or newspaper article," again losing sight of the fact that this objection could again apply to the pile of academic articles from right-wing journals and newspaper stories from such "open sources" as The National Post that CSIS commonly submits.

Jackman asserts she is not seeking expert certification for her witnesses, but only an opportunity for them to provide some context for Hassan Almrei's release application. She points out as well that although the security certificate was upheld against Almrei, that finding is based only on a "possibility," not a "probability," that the allegations would hold any weight (a certificate is upheld when a judge concludes there are "reasonable grounds" to believe certain facts might exist without having proven the existence of said facts, and in Hassan's case he was not allowed to testify in a safe environment shortly after 9/11/2001). The task now, among others, is to determine the strength of that "possibility" finding in determining whether Hassan can be released.

"What the Minister (of citizenship and immigration) wants the court to do is draw inferences based on misperceptions," Jackman explains in response to MacIntosh's objections. "None of us were in Afghanistan in the 1980s, we weren't there so we don't know," she says in reference to the many young people who went there. The witnesses will provide a helpful context to understand why Almrei acted as he did.

She also points out that the Federal Court may not have the same expertise to determine an issue like false passports. "The Refugee division knows Syrians who were persecuted need false passports, because they're experts on these matters...This testimony is necessary because it speaks to a world not known to this court."

While MacIntosh continues to insist that Jackman is trying to "reconstruct" the case, in the end, Blanchard says that there is admissable evidence based on the written statements, and what weight he gives to it is another matter. "I can't prejudge testimony I haven't heard," he says.



The next few hours are a surreal scene, as spectators strain to listen to the trans-Atlantic phone hook-up as if it were an old fashioned radio broadcast. Jackman calls London, England's Kamal El-Helbawi, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood from 1995&endash;1997, and an Egyptian who, since 1960, has worked as an educator, lecturer and "guide to young men to know their religion." He urges Muslims to avoid extremism, for "to understand Islam wrongly is to stray from the road of Prophet Mohammad."

He testifies that for Syrians who are members of or associated with the Muslim Brotherhood (as Hassan's father is), obtaining a Syrian passport is impossible. "The Syrian government says anyone associated with the Muslim Brotherhood should be executed. Many who aren't proven members are thrown in prison, without a proper defence. They lead a miserable life after an unfair trial." El-Helbawi says Syrian nationals cannot even obtain passports or other I.D. from Syrian missions in the U.K. or Canada or the U.S. if they are seen as activists. (The Muslim Brotherhood is an organization, as was attested to earlier in the bail hearing, that has sworn off violence, and organizes demonstrations and public education campaigns).

Some are forced to seek nationality from another country or to forge documents.

"Have individuals in the Muslim Brotherhood helped people get passports?" Jackman asks.

"Sure, they are obliged to try in any way they can. Most of the Muslim Brotherhood are highly educated people. If a few use such documents, it is their personal responsibility, but we would not actively encourage them to do so."

El-Helbawi discusses the historic conditions which led to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December, 1979 and the subsequent jihad ("struggle") against the occupation, one supported by Reagan and Bush Senior. He says most countries with good U.S. relations encouraged people to go to Afghanistan to act not only in a military capacity, but also in agriculture, medicine, education, orphanages.

"This was not just Muslims. Over 100 of the relief agencies were Christian, all supporting the mujaheddin [anti-Soviet fighters]."

"Did the young people who went use guns?"

"Anyone who goes to a battlefield needs to learn these things," he says. He personally went to work in education, and saw thousands of young people engaged in humanitarian work, from literacy to training women to make crafts. "Many came via Pakistan, whose government allowed them to" do this.

For those who DID take part in military resistance, El-Helbawi testifies, "they learned very primitive tactics. Most just learned how to defend themselves. Many Arabs were originally protected by the Afghans themselves, who were using very primitive guns and tools."

El-Helbawi says that very few of the young people who went could be considered extremist, but most were "more enthusiastic and anxious, with very little or improper interpretations of Islam."

El-Helbawi notes that the term jihad is meant to establish justice, and that Allah does not love aggressors. "Even in jihad you must not be aggressive to anyone at all. Priests, the elderly, children, women cannot be killed. There is no killing except when you are attacked, and even then you are to avoid killing many sorts of people."

El-Helbawi says there were some young people who eventually joined Al Qaeda, as "they went beyond a proper understanding of Islam." He says the media have blown the group out of proportion, and says "the claims against them are beyond their actual ability." In discussing Al Qaeda recruits, he says, "I feel these people are carrying a disease, a virus. They need treatment and help, not like what is happening at Guantanamo Bay. They need fellow Muslims to provide them with social care." He says extremism grows not because of religion or culture, but because of political situations. "Some people thought Al Qaeda was a relief organization [which he says was one of its original aims]."

El-Helbawi details the horrible problems that those returning from fighting in the U.S.-funded resistance met, where many were brought to court and sent to jail. Some were executed, some got 25 years at hard labour, some disappeared, others received life sentences in prison.

"It's strange that in Egypt during Sadat and Mubarak, they encouraged these young people to go, but when they returned after the jihad they were called terrorists and extremists."

Jackman advises El-Helbawi that he is about to be questioned by MacIntosh, who "mispronounces names badly," so he should feel free to ask him to repeat his questions.

MacIntosh rises to his feet and, doing his best Rush Limbaugh impersonation, immediately launches a verbal missile across the TransAtlantic wires.

Without so much as a good day, MacIntosh screams out, "Do you believe Osama bin Laden is an extremist?"

"Some of his ideas I do not appreciate," El-Helbawi replies, noting that if he is a terrorist, that is a conclusion for a court, as everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

MacIntosh yells out, "So you don't believe it's been proven Osama Bin Laden is a terrorist?"

El-Helbawi says he believes in freedom and proper judgment, and that bin Laden has not been arrested nor brought to a court with specific allegations proven against him.

MacIntosh raises his voice even higher, leading to an objection from Jackman. "Mr. MacIntosh has asked the question three times, all El-Helbawi is saying is prove it in a court."

The objection is over-ruled.

"Is it your position that Osama bin Laden has committed a terrorist act?" he is asked again.

"That should be left to the courts to decide. I can say he praised some of the acts but he did not claim he committed them.. I do believe they are terrorist acts, but what I believe about bin Laden is he has extremist ideas which I do not agree with. When extremist ideas become extremist actions, it's a matter for the courts."

Asked again if he felt bin Laden were behind the 9/11/2001 attacks, El-Helbawi again replies that he has never heard bin Laden openly claim responsibility.

El-Helbawi explains under cross examination that the war in Afghanistan was not a well organized one, and "sometimes Afghans were even killing themselves." MacIntosh's questions are belligerent and loud, leading to another objection that he can be heard in the hallways. Blanchard rules that since it's a phone hook-up, a louder voice is necessary. But it's clear to anyone observing that MacIntosh is on the warpath. If one is to be a bit more charitable, perhaps he raises his voice in the manner white people people do when addressing individuals whose first language is not English, as if speaking louder will make their words easier to understand.

El-Helbawi says many Arabs are not happy with extremist ideas regarding Islam.

"So you agree Osama bin Laden has improper ideas about Islam? Is it not true that he distorts Islam to serve his own violent purposes?" MacIntosh barks.

"Islam is a message, not a science. Bin Laden did not graduate from an Islamic university."

"If he's just an evil man does it matter if he went to university?"

"You cannot be a guide for Islam without understanding. A good Muslim cannot be a proper teacher if he does not understand Islam."

MacIntosh again enters the twilight zone of irony, with a question that should be posed to Bush, Cheney, Chretien, Blair and Rumsfeld.

"Do you agree bin Laden has not followed the international rules of war?"

"In Afghanistan it was a war, and the Americans were involved. It should be left to the courts to see if he committed a crime. I'm not defending bin Laden, just speaking as a research worker."

Jackman redirects some questions, asking if his views regarding bin Laden and the need to put such allegations before a court of law are shared by others in that part of the world (in terms of issues like direct responsibility for 9/11)

"I consider bin Laden like Samuel Huntington," El-Helbawi says, in reference to a founder of the Trilateral Commission whose racist "Clash of Civilizations" is a best seller and who designed the genocidal Phoenix program in Vietnam.


The next witness is Khamed Abou Al-Fadl, a visiting professor from UCLA at the Yale School of Law who has written on human rights issues, Islamic law, the impact of 9/11/2001 on the Muslim community, and his work as a Bush appointee on the International Committee on Religious Freedom, a group which explores countries that persecute on religious grounds as possible targets for sanctions.

Al-Fadl discusses the huge U.S. support for the war in Afghanistan and the calls for financial support and volunteers to travel there that were heard throughout the Arab world.

"It was seen as a commendable act to go there," with volunteers often given financial assistance by their governments in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait.

"Those who went later in the war never saw combat. They had no military background, they didn't know the topography, and would have needed a lot of training to be involved [training which was not available.]"

"In Islam, it is a common theological belief that you must come to the aid of Muslim brothers and sisters. At the time, the mood was that a communist state had invaded a Muslim country., and atheism was equated with Communism. I can understand the emotional appeal to go. Most people I know of who went was because they felt that obligation."

"Were they extremist for going?" Jackman asks.

"I've been throughout the Mideast and in my experience the majority had strong religious convictions but they were not necessarily extremists. A good portion of the kids were practicing Muslims, not fanatics. There were good guys and bad guys [USSR], and these were average, decent Muslims who stepped into hero status by going." Often, he says, those who went were robbed of their money by the mujaheddin and left to fend for themselves.

One of the serious tragedies of the period, he says, is that when the volunteers returned home, they were viewed with suspicion because the kids were seen as somehow radicalized and a threat to the local government. In Egypt, he says, all returnees were arrested and detained in summary fashion. In the Gulf countries, those without citizenship were often arrested and suffered serious human rights violations.

"Those who were truly radicalized were the ones who stayed, they became known as Afghani Arabs, they did not attempt to go home. So they had to join with the Taliban or other tribal groups."

Al-Fadl says most who left the country were not "radicalized" in the sense that they had been convinced a revolution should expand to bring down other infidel empires.

"Are you a radical to criticize the US invasion of Iraq?" Jackman asks.

"No, many Muslims are distrustful of the U.S."

Al-Fadl notes that the extremists "have a very distinctive creed of violence, they believe in a continuous state of revolution. Violence is a way of life that's very different from having critical views."

On the ground in Afghanistan, most everyone who went had not had any serious training, he notes, apart from "some basic military training for their own safety. This is not a civil society, so although you learned some hand to hand combat or how to use a gun, that is not training to be part of a terrorist organization, which would include things like manufacturing time bombs and explosives, among other things."

"Many who returned from Afghanistan reported that if they wanted to survive at night there they had to learn to use a gun and carry one. Terrorist training is far more rigorous than that."

Al-Fadl notes many Afghanis resented bin Laden, "for while he took part, he was not seen as a major player. He was seen as pro-Saudi with dealings with the CIA, shrouded in ambiguity.. After the war was ended and the Soviets were gone he began using his forces to dominate the Afghanis themselves. Here's this non-entity who didn't do much against the Soviets now playing the big man when they're gone. It's as late as 1995 or 1996 before he becomes a prominent player."

Al-Fadl discusses the problems of citizenship in Gulf countries, where naturalization is very difficult in countries like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

"We have large numbers of stateless individuals who were born or grew up in Saudi Arabia who at age 18 or 19 lose their residence. Even if their parents have a work permit, they can lose their residence if their kids don't get work permits."

Asked if Osama bin Laden is connected to the honey business, Al-Fadl says in fact bin Laden's business structure focused mainly on drugs to buy weapons on the black market, but that he "hasn't branched out to other legitimate businesses." The honey trade is widespread, he says, as Muslims believe honey has a curative effect, but "you can't get rich selling honey."

Jackman asks him to discuss the effects of 9/11/2001 on the Muslim community in North America, specifically on young Muslim males.

Macintosh objects.

Jackman rephrases. "Is there fear in the community?"

"There is enormous anxiety, from fear of ignorance and discrimination, being unfairly targetted by law enforcement. There are a lot of people who no longer feel secure about their future and some don't want to live here anymore." He says in Europe there is a perception that "no one wants to have Arabs anymore."

She tries to ask if it makes sense that a young Muslim who has been to jihad might fear backlash from western intelligence agencies.

MacIntosh objects

Al-Fadl discusses the profile of a terrorist, specifically that of the 9/11/2001 terrorists, who never had problems with money, were well-educated, and, for those who are connected to other acts of terror, generally brag about their acts.

"Instructing kids in the Koran [as Hassan did] is unusual for someone who allegedly has Al Qaeda ties," he notes.

The day ends with some cursory questioning from MacIntosh, who gives up when his big question, whether Al-Fadl knows anything about the security measures employed in bin Laden camps, is answered in the affirmative.

The next day Hassan will take the stand. It is the first real chance for the Federal Court to get to know this young man. He will elaborate on the public declaration of his life and travels that was released earlier in the bail hearing (available at http://www.homesnotbombs.ca/hassanaffidavit.htm)


As Hassan spends the next day and a half on the stand, it is clear that the testimony of the two previous witnesses has been helpful in situating the context of Hassan's life, and the potential for major misperceptions on the part of CSIS. Indeed, it is clear that Hassan, far from being a threat, is just a young guy caught up in world events who is trying to build a life for himself in a tough economy, who sometimes makes unwise choices, but choices that do not make him a danger to Canada. But because he is an Arab Muslim, his missteps or mistakes are not treated quite as kindly as if he were a white Enron or Hollinger CEO.

Through questioning from his lawyer, Barbara Jackman, Hassan discusses how he was born in Syria, and left at age seven to go to Saudi Arabia. His father was persecuted as a result of membership in the Muslim Brotherhood, and one uncle and his son were in jail for 10 years in Syria.

As if he were a world youth volunteer from Canada, Hassan went to Afghanistan during summer vacations with financial support of the Saudi government. His first attempt to go to Afghanistan via Pakistan ended with a bout of malaria, but when he got there the second summer, he found things were terribly disorganized. "Everyone had different opinions, everyone wanted to be a leader," Hassan says. He is frank about the fact that when he was in Afghanistan he learned basic uses of a rifle. "It's a war zone, you had to carry one," he says, but he never had occasion to use it. He largely spent his time teaching Arabic and leading prayers.

He details a scouting trip to Tajikistan, where nothing much happened other than a lot of hiking and setting up of tents. He received no training for this trip.

"Were you putting missiles together?" Jackman asks.

"No, just tents." He also cut wood for fires.

Jackman asks, "Are you skilled in surveillance?" No.

"Did you want to fight?" she asks him of his time in Afghanistan.

"It's not exactly my wish but if I had to I would," he says.

The picture that emerges is of a young man who is caught up in the fervor of his generation, a jihad against Soviet occupation and its legacy of a puppet government, yet in reality, he spent most of his time trying to aid in humanitarian work, with teaching, leading of prayers, and trying to feel useful.

Jackman takes Hassan through the computer book that the RCMP put together. There are pictures of bin Laden, pictures of 9/11 hijackers, and others.

"These come from newspaper sites, from CNN. You can go to the FBI website to see that picture of bin Laden," Hassan says. There is also a picture of his father--it is not clear if the RCMP thought Hassan's father was a mysterious terror threat and not simply a family picture. But well, you know how it can be--when your spies at CSIS and the RCMP are almost exclusively white, all Arabs and Muslims are viewed as terror threats.

Hassan notes these pictures came from his computer only because when one visits internet sites, pictures become embedded on one's hard drive. He freely admits that he spent time on chatlines with women and sometimes visited adult websites.

Hassan says he asked the RCMP why, after they downloaded the contents of his computer, they did not include ALL of the contents, just what would appear to be incriminating looking pictures whose news sources had been clipped away.

"They would not answer," he says. "I also asked them why they didn't tell the judge that lots of people checked their e-mails on my computer," which was on 24 hours a day and anyone visiting his apartment could access it.

"I'm not interested in collecting bin Laden pictures. It's not hard for them to take them from my hard drive. But it's not fair to bring these in and not the rest," he says.

Jackman asks why he did not include his time in Afghanistan on his personal information form for the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). Hassan explains that his reason for seeking refugee status was his family's association with the Muslim Brotherhood, and not his time in Afghanistan. He also had no proof that he had been in Afghanistan. "My interpreter also said it was not a good idea to say I was in Afghanistan -- my association with the Muslim Brotherhood was good enough." He was also afraid to say he'd been in Afghanistan because it would be equated with a terrorist association.

Jackman leads him through various documents, on which Hassan freely admits that he did not include certain information for reasons of fear. It is a difficult thing, to have one's whole life exposed in such a manner, but misrepresentation is a reality for thousands of refugee claimants who have sought safety and are afraid to say anything which might have that safety denied.

Hassan says thousands of people come to Canada on false documents since that is the only way they can get here. He had held a valid Syrian passport in 1990 but when it was time to renew, they refused him, and told him to go to the Muslim Brotherhood. He went to the Canadian embassy to get a visa based on his MB passport but was refused, so he got a United Arab Emirates (UAE) passport. Although he told the IRB that he had destroyed the UAE passport, he admits he kept it (indeed, the RCMP seized it) because he was worried if he were turned down in Canada, he would have no travel documents to speak of.

Hassan also freely admits to helping Nabil Al-Marabh get a false passport so he could visit his ailing mother. Al-Marabh was portrayed as a terrorist after September 11, 2001, but has since had all of those allegations dismissed.

Was Hassan ever clandestine, Jackman asks.

"If I was, why would I tell all my friends about Afghanistan, why would I tell my friends about how I helped get the fake passport for Nabil? It makes no sense for someone trying to hide himself to use his apartment phone, to visit Nabil when he was in jail."

He admits that helping get Nabil the fake passport was wrong, it was criminal, and he did not do it again, even though Nabil asked him for another such favour.

It was Hassan who requested an interview with CSIS at a lawyer's office after friends told him the RCMP and CSIS had been asking about him. After Sept. 11, 2001, unmarked cars had been following him everywhere, and one night he discovered his apartment had been searched and his computer cable was unhooked.

He met with CSIS at Jackman's office in October, 2001, for a half hour interview at which very few useful questions were asked. Hassan says he denied at that interview being in Afghanistan because he was scared, because CSIS has been following him 24 hours a day. CSIS agents told him to give them a call if he thought of anything else, but they did not provide him with a card or phone number. Within days he was arrested and in solitary.

He discusses that his life was falling apart at the same time. His pita business in Yorkville was going under. There he had 1 female employee who was married and did not wear hijab.

He condemns the actions of 9/11, says he is not an extremist, adding, "all the RCMP and CSIS had to do was see my computer to see I am not. If I was an extremist I wouldn't have female friends, hire the woman for the restaurant, shave my beard. In Canada I am not a very religious person. I pray, but I also chat with women on the internet."

Hassan says he never saw bin Laden's picture until he came to Canada. He says he does not support bin Laden or most of his views, but says, "I can speak against American policy, I may share that with him, especially regarding Palestine, but that doesn't mean I want to blow up innocent people."

Government lawyer Toby Hoffman has nothing much to say, other than to repeat the assertions that Hassan was not forthcoming at the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). He tries to put words into Hassan's mouth, saying things like, "When you were in the training camps," but Hassan, for whom English is a very new language, is able to catch this, and say, "I was in a military camp, not a training camp." When asked whether he would have taken part in fighting, Hassan replies, "The ones who attack must be well trained. They would never allow me to do that having only been there one or two years."

Hoffman tries to play the religious extremist card, but Hassan is up to the challenge.

"You don't have to be religious to teach the Koran," Hassan says. "To teach religion you must go to university. An imam (which Hassan is qualified to be) is different than a cleric. An imam leads the prayer, not an Islamic scholar."

He says they prayed 5 times a day in Tajikistan. "There was a special person who was designated to call for prayer, but that wasn't me."

Then he is asked about bin Laden once more. "If you look at the people in this room I would know Justice Blanchard is the most important man, and I would want to meet him. Bin Laden was not like that stature" during his time in Afghanistan, Hassan says.

"Is bin laden a radical?"

"I won't say all his beliefs are radical. If he's responsible for Sept. 11, in my religion he should be killed."

Hassan is asked whether, when he had been on a scouting mission, he would have attacked a Russian column if asked to.

"We would not attack a Russian group when we were on a scouting mission. That would be stupid!"

Hoffman reads reports about severe situations in Afghanistan allegedly created by men who were part of the anti-Taliban resistance, and tries to link them to Hassan. In one instance, he asks whether Hassan knew of an occasion when the water and power were cut to Kabul. Hassan says no. (Hoffman, in another irony, may not realize that the power and water are still unavailable in many Iraqi cities under U.S. occupation!)

As Hassan leaves the stand, there is a sense of relief and hope. He has done well on the stand, and the government lawyers are left grasping for straws. While they may argue that Hassan is a liar who should not be trusted, Jackman points out that Almrei provided information in his declaration and on the stand that went against his own interest, information that went well beyond what CSIS likely knew about him, which indicates he wants to be completely up front.

Just before Hoffman affirms that he will be making secret submissions the following week in Ottawa, Jackman calls Matthew Behrens to the stand.

Behrens, a bail surety for Almrei, had spent the previous evening going through Hassan's computer, recently returned from the RCMP. His testimony confirms that the computer book with the images of bin Laden and guns is a crock, as Hassan's Temporary Internet Files clearly show these images were from news sites such as the BBC. Behrens also went through Almrei's cache files, and found pictures from adult websites, from weight loss sites, bank advertisements, and pictures of angels weeping over the atrocities in New York City and Washington on 9/11/2001. Clearly, the RCMP's photo book is not at all representative of what was on Hassan's computer.

"Did you find anything else interesting?" Jackman asks.

"Hassan seems to have been a fan of Napster, because he had some music downloads," Behrens says.

"What kind of music?"

"The kind of stuff my daughter listens to."

And so Hassan goes back to solitary confinement to await the court decision. In the meantime, he again wants to thank all those who have written supportive cards and letters, birthday greetings and more. He hopes to meet you all one day real soon!


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