Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Oops....Sorry About That!

I guess Bush better get his torture legislation passed so that those responsible for things like this will be insulated from accountability!!

Innocent Man Sent to Syria and Tortured, Probe Finds
Canadian Report Faults Mounties, U.S. for Deportation

Syrian-born Maher Arar was exonerated of all suspicion of terrorist activity by the 2 1/2-year commission of inquiry into his case, which urged the Canadian government to offer him financial compensation. Arar is perhaps the world's best-known case of extraordinary rendition -- the U.S. transfer of foreign terror suspects to third countries without court approval.
"I am able to say categorically that there is no evidence to indicate that Mr. Arar has committed any offense or that his activities constitute a threat to the security of Canada," Justice Dennis O'Connor said Monday in a three-volume report on the findings of the inquiry, part of which was made public.

Arar was traveling on a Canadian passport when he was detained at New York's Kennedy Airport on Sept. 26, 2002, on his way home from vacation in Tunisia.

Arar said U.S. authorities sent him to Syria for interrogation as a suspected member of al-Qaida, a link he denied.

He spent nearly a year in prison in Syria and made detailed allegations after his release in 2003 about extensive interrogation, beatings and whippings with electrical cables.
O'Connor criticized the U.S. and recommended that Ottawa file formal protests with both Washington and the Syrian government over Arar's treatment.

"The American authorities who handled Mr. Arar's case treated Mr. Arar in a most regrettable fashion," O'Connor wrote. "They removed him to Syria against his wishes and in the face of his statements that he would be tortured if sent there. Moreover, they dealt with Canadian officials involved with Mr. Arar's case in a less than forthcoming manner."

The U.S. is already under intense criticism from human rights groups over the practice of sending suspects to countries where they could be tortured.

U.S. and Syrian officials refused to cooperate with the Canadian inquiry.


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