Hassan Almrei is the last inmate of Guantanamo North, the detention facility for people with suspected terrorist affiliations seeking to avoid deportation from Canada. The facility is on the grounds of the Kingston Penitentiary. Justice François Lemieux refused to give him bail. Judge Lemieux listed several factors which led him to consider Almrei to be possibly dangerous. These included his role in the fighting in Afghanistan in the 1990s and his alleged activity in passport forgery. Almrei has also been accused of fund-raising to support terrorism in Tajikistan.
In spite of such allegations, Lemieux would have liked to release him on bail, but he decided that he could not do so because Almrei is single and has no family to watch over him in Canada. The other former inmates of the facility were all released on strict bail conditions including constant supervision by family members.
Diana Ralph, a social work professor who has advocated on Almrei’s behalf, said that he went to Afghanistan when he was 18 to help the Northern League in driving out the Russians. His Syrian family was living in Saudi Arabia, to which he returned. He and a brother opened a business importing incense, perfume, and honey, but it was illegal, she said, for foreigners to open businesses there, and he fled to Canada to avoid arrest by the Saudis.
She also commented on the Tajikistan connection. According to her, he raised money for an imam who wanted to open a school for girls, a school which he subsequently established. As is well known, the Taliban do not favor education for girls. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the law under which Almrei and the others were being held is unconstitutional. It gave the government a year to bring in new legislation. Otherwise, Canada would have to release the detainees from incarceration and bail conditions. There are three months to go.