Canada police commissioner publicly apologizes to Arar for RCMP role in deportation

[JURIST] Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli [official profile] made a formal apology [text] Thursday to Maher Arar [advocacy website; CBC timeline], the Canadian citizen who on suspicion of being linked to Al Qaeda was deported from the US to Syria in 2002 and tortured there. Zaccardelli publicly accepted all of the recently-released findings [commission materials] of the Arar Commission [official website], which concluded early this month that the US "very likely" acted upon inaccurate and misleading information about Arar provided by the RCMP. In remarks to the Canadian House of Commons Committee on Public Safety and National Security [official website], Zaccardelli said:

Mr. Arar, I wish to take this opportunity to express publicly to you and to your wife and to your children how truly sorry I am for whatever part the actions of the RCMP may have contributed to the terrible injustices that you experienced and the pain that you and your family endured.
While Zaccardelli will not resign over the handling of the case, he did state that the RCMP has already implemented some recommendations [CBC News report] made by Commission and will continue to reform the way it conducts its operations.

Arar [JURIST news archive] was detained in 2002 during a layover at New York's JFK airport on a flight home to Canada from Tunisia; he was detained by US immigration officials for two weeks and then deported on a US government plane to Jordan and then taken to Syria, where he was born. Arar alleged he was deported so that he could be tortured in Syria, where he eventually made false admissions of terrorist activity. He was released from Syrian custody in 2003. US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has thusfar defended US conduct [JURIST report] in handling the Arar case. CBC News has more.


 

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