Another convicted terrorist in Canada is suing the federal government for trying to strip away his Canadian citizenship.
Hiva Alizadeh was born in Iran and is currently serving time in an Alberta prison for possessing explosives and plotting to carry out a terrorist attack in Canada. He was sentenced to 24 years in prison last year after he and two other men were arrested in 2010 following an investigation by Canada's federal police force.
The National Post reports that Alizadeh, 36, is one of nine convicted terrorists who have received notices from Citizenship and Immigration Canada that it's moving to revoke their Canadian citizenship under Bill C-24, new citizenship legislation that's been in effect since the spring. Under it, the federal government has the power to take away the Canadian citizenship of dual citizens convicted of terrorism, treason, and espionage.
In his application submitted to the Federal Court, Alizadeh argues it would be "cruel and unusual punishment" if the government took his citizenship away and would also infringe on his right to vote in the upcoming federal election.
According to court documents, Alizadeh traveled to Afghanistan in 2009 to participate in a terrorist training camp where he learned how to use guns and detonate bombs. He returned to Canada and recruited others to help him carry out an attack.
In September, Zakaria Amara, a Jordanian-Canadian member of the Toronto 18 who was convicted of terrorism offenses in 2010 for his role in the Toronto 18, became the first person to have their citizenship revoked under the law.
Controversy over the law was thrust onto the election campaign trail after it was revealed that the immigration ministry is attempting to void the Canadian citizenship of a Canadian-born man who was also found guilty for his role in the Toronto 18 terror plot.
Both opposition leaders, Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau, have vowed to scrap the law if elected. The ruling Conservatives argue that once someone is found guilty of terrorism offences in Canada, they forfeit their right to be Canadian.
The government is facing a number of other lawsuits on the law from others like Alizadeh. The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association has teamed up with former Toronto 18 member Asad Ansari to challenge the constitutionality of the law, arguing that it's discriminatory and creates a second class of Canadians. An Ottawa man, convicted of terrorism-related offenses related to the Project Samossa investigation, is also suing the government for trying to take away his Canadian citizenship.
Counterterrorism experts have criticized the law because it has resulted in lengthy court battles that will likely deflect from dedicating resources to combating the root causes of terrorism and will just export terrorists to countries where they could re-offend.