Canadian deported to Syria for torture is cleared

A Syrian-Canadian has been totally exonerated of having ties with Al Qaeda — after the RCMP and US Department of Homeland Security conspired to have him shipped to Syria, where he was tortured for ten months.

Maher Arar was passing through the US on the way back to Canada when the DHS detained him. The Mounties sent the US authorities bogus intel about him, saying that he had "links with Al Quaeda" because he was friends with someone who might be an Al Quaeda sympathizer. The US authorities sent him to Syria, where they (and the RCMP) fed questions to his Syrian torturers for months. Eventually, his torturers extracted a "confession" from him.

When he returned to Canada, he publicized his plight and the RCMP responded by smearing him, publicizing his "confession" and saying that he'd gotten what he deserved.

Now a public Canadian inquiry (which the DHS boycotted, refusing to disclose any information) has totally cleared Arar, and the RCMP has apologized for sending a citizen to a corrupt totalitarian state to be tortured because he was friends with someone they didn't like.

Critics have called for the commissioner of the RCMP to resign, for the officers involved to be disciplined, for the Canadian officials who dealt so callously with Mr Arar to be held accountable.

Mr Arar has won a hard-fought victory, not just for himself but for all Canadians. Through his persistence, and that of his wife, they have seen how the powers of the state were abused in the panic and fear that followed the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

Three other Canadian citizens were also tortured in the Middle East under similar circumstances: Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati and Muyyed Nurredin. The government says it is now considering ways to get to the bottom of what happened to them without the cost and delay of holding full public inquiries.


(via Beyond the Beyond)