[JURIST] Former US detainee and Canadian citizen Maher Arar [advocacy website; JURIST news archive] said Thursday that he was shocked and saddened to learn that US government officials had testified at the US military commission trial [JURIST report] of fellow Canadian citizen Omar Khadr [DOD materials; JURIST news archive] that Arar had lived with terrorists in Afghanistan. FBI agent Robert Fuller testified that Khadr had identified Arar as among those living with suspected terrorists. Arar made the statement at a panel [press release] sponsored by the Canadian Journalism Foundation [advocacy website] in order to highlight the intense media scrutiny [Toronto Star report] that he has felt subjected to since his arrest and detention in 2002. Arar accused the media [CBC report] of a lack of attention to facts and a willingness to promote false allegations made by US sources.
Arar was detained by the US in September 2002 after flying to New York from Tunisia on his way home to Canada. The US government deported him to Syria in 2002, where he was tortured despite Syrian assurances that he would not be. Last month, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit began an en banc rehearing [JURIST report] of Arar's case, in which he is challenging the US government's policy of extraordinary rendition [JURIST news archive] under the Torture Victim Protection Act [text] and the Fifth Amendment [text] of the US Constitution. US lawmakers apologized [JURIST report] in 2007 for his arrest, deportation and, torture at the hands of Syrian Officials.