[JURIST] US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice testified [recorded video] Wednesday in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee [official website] that the rendition [JURIST news archive] of Canadian citizen Maher Arar [advocacy website; JURIST news archive] was not "handled as it should have been," but stopped short of apologizing to the 37 year-old Syrian-born engineer. Arar was detained in the US in 2002 after flying to New York from Tunisia on his way home to Ottawa after a holiday and later deported to Syria, where he was tortured. Rice added that the US government has told the Canadian government that it will "try to do better in the future." This is the first time that the US government has admitted any mistakes in its handling of Arar's case.
Last week Arar appeared before the same committee via video, accepting apologies from members of the committee [JURIST report] and expressing his hope that he would one day receive an official apology from the US government. The official Canadian investigation [official website] into Arar's rendition concluded that Canadian officials did not play a role [JURIST report] in the actual US decision to detain and deport 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. Although Arar was cleared of any wrongdoing and received $10 million dollars and an official apology from the Canadian government as a settlement [JURIST report], the US has refused to remove Arar from its no-fly list, effectively barring him entering the US. CBC News has more.