Canada security service thought US would deport Arar for torture: uncensored report

[JURIST] Canadian intelligence officials suspected that the United States would deport detained Canadian citizen Maher Arar [advocacy website; CBC timeline] to a country where he could have been subject to torture, according to previously censored information released Thursday by Canada's official Arar Commission [official website]. A Canadian judge last month ordered [JURIST report] the commission to publish the information in a ruling based in part on the commission's arguments that the public should have access to the information contained in the report. Pursuant to the ruling, the commission issued an addendum [PDF text - new content in bold] to its factual findings [commission materials; JURIST report]. Included in the new information is a note that a Canadian Security Intelligence Service [official website] liaison officer in Washington, DC submitted a report to his superiors which:

spoke of a trend they had noted lately that when the CIA or FBI cannot legally hold a terrorist subject, or wish a target questioned in a firm manner, they have them rendered to countries willing to fulfill that role. He said Mr. Arar was a case in point.

On October 10, 2002, Mr. Hooper stated in a memorandum: "I think the U.S. would like to get Arar to Jordan where they can have their way with him."
Commission Lead Counsel Paul Cavalluzzo said Thursday that the commission hoped the new disclosure of "important information relating to human rights and torture issues" would lead to greater accountability for government officials [press release, PDF].

Arar was detained in the US in 2002 after flying to New York from Tunisia on his way home to Ottawa after a holiday; he was subsequently removed to Syria, where he says he was tortured. Canada established an official judicial inquiry [JURIST report] in 2004 to trace the events leading to Arar's deportation to Syria. The commission concluded that Canadian officials did not play a role in the US decision to detain and remove Arar, but said that the US decision was "very likely" based on inaccurate, unfair and overstated information about Arar passed on by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In its later policy review [commission materials; JURIST report], the commission recommended that a new agency be created to review the RCMP's national security activities. CBC News has more.

 

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