Canada Gov't Should be Held Liable

A Canadian man, who was deported by US authorities to Syria and tortured based on bad Canadian intelligence, called on the government to uphold responsibility for his case.

Canada Gov't Should be Held Liable

"Accountability goes far beyond the resignation of one person," Maher Arar told reporters Friday, December 8.

Arar, a computer engineer holding both Canadian and Syrian citizenship, was arrested at New York's Kennedy Airport in September 2002 while en route to Montreal after a visit to his wife's family in Tunisia.

He was deported to Syria where he was jailed and tortured for more than a year on allegations that he was linked to Al-Qaeda.

A Canadian government commission has cleared Arar of terrorism ties, stating that US authorities had likely relied on faulty intelligence provided by Canadian police

Arar said the resignation of Giuliano Zaccardelli, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner, does not absolve the government of responsibility.

Zaccardelli quit his post after he admitted misleading legislators about when he learned his force had told Washington that Arar had links with Al-Qaeda.

In September Zaccardelli told the parliament's public safety committee he had first learned in 2002 that police had passed on inaccurate information to US authorities.

But on Tuesday, December 5, he changed his story and told the same committee that he had in fact not become aware of the problem until the release of the report, which condemned police incompetence and dishonesty.

Arar's attorney, Julian Falconer, said Zaccardelli's resignation did not mean the government was taking responsibility for the botched case.

"He lost his job because he couldn't keep his stories straight." Falconer said.


Arar said he did not know which of Zaccardelli's stories was correct.

He, however, gave the resigning top cop credit for being the only top government official to have said he was sorry for what happened.

The Syrian-origin national has sued the Canadian government for C$37 million ($32 million) in damages for his case.

His suit is scheduled to go into mediation next week.

Arar urged Prime Minister Stephen Harper to release information still being kept secret about the government's role in his deportation.

He also said officials who leaked false information about him to the news media should be exposed.

An inquiry into Arar's case showed that the foreign ministry and Canadian Security Intelligence Service had also been involved.

Another report will be issued next Tuesday by the judge leading the probe in which he is expected to recommend an independent oversight panel for the RCMP be set up.

Arar's case has sparked furor in Canada, with the opposition and human rights groups calling for more heads to roll over the scandal.

The opposition accuses the government of compromising national sovereignty with its eagerness to share information with the US in their rush to boost security after the 9/11 attacks.

Since 9/11, the CIA has rendered more than 100 people from one country to another, to put them in the infamous renditions, usually with well-documented records of abuse, without legal proceedings.

US President George W. Bush has strongly defended them as "vital to the nation's defense."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16