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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Canada Faces Off the US Over Majer Arar

Do you know the case of Majer Arar? In a face off to the United States this last Friday, Canada issued an apology and a 10.5 million dollar award to Majer for their role in his ordeal in the US rendition to Syria for torture. Now please, someone help me out here. The US hands over a supposed "terrorist suspect" to a nation we refuse to talk to considering negotiations in the Middle East (while Israel has been carrying on secret negotiations) for TORTURING!! We even have entities here, David Wurmser, suggesting Israel bomb the hell out of Syria. Maybe it's just me, but I sense a MAJOR contradiction in US policy. Oh well, I'm just a housewife blogging from my kitchen, what am I to know!!!! Furthermore,
although Maher has been proven by a Canadian court of law to be innocent, the US refuses to remove him from the "terrorist watch list" and the "no fly list". They are SO mad (the US), the US ambassador to Canada has issued a BACK OFF statement. My my, dear Canada, what are we to do now :) !!!

Key dates in the ordeal of Maher Arar

Sept 26,2002 :Arar arrives at JFK in New York City, on a flight from Zurich, headed for Montreal. He is detained by U.S. authorities, questioned, told he is inadmissible to the United States and asked where he would like to go. He says Canada.

Oct. 4, 2002: Arar is visited by Maureen Girvan, a Canadian consular officer in New York. She later says she never thought the Americans would send him anywhere except home to Canada

Oct. 8, 2002: Arar is taken from his cell at 8a.m. and told by American officials he is being deported to Syria on suspicion of terrorist activity. He is bundled aboard a private jet.

Oct. 9, 2002: The plane lands in Jordan and Arar is quickly transferred by car to Damascus where he is to be jailed by Syrian military intelligence.

Oct. 10, 2002: Arar gets his first look at a cell he describes as being the size of a grave. He is to spend most of the next 10 months there.

Oct. 11, 2002: Arar is tortured for the first time, beaten on his palms, wrists, lower back and hips with an electrical cable. He confesses — falsely — to terrorist training in Afghanistan

Oct. 23, 2002: Arar meets Canadian consul Leo Martel for the first time. The beatings have lessened since he was first jailed, and Martel later says he couldn’t detect any signs of physical torture. There are several more consular visits in subsequent months but none is private; Syrian officials insist on being present. April 23, 2003: Arar meets Canadian ambassador Franco Pillarella and two visiting Canadian MPs, Marlene Catterall and Sarkis Assadourian. Again the Syrians insist on being present and he can’t speak frankly.

Aug. 14, 2003: Routine consular visits resume after a long interruption. Arar describes his living conditions and later says he told the consul he had been tortured. The consul agrees he knew living conditions were bad, but says Arar never spoke of torture.

Aug. 23, 2003: Arar is blindfolded, put in a car and driven to a new prison. His treatment improves and there is no further torture. He is no longer held in solitary confinement and can mix with other prisoners.

Oct. 4, 2003: After days of anticipating further interrogation, Arar is told instead that he will be going home to Canada. He doesn’t believe

Oct. 5, 2003: Arar is taken to meet a prosecutor who reads out a confession of his supposed terrorist past and tells him to sign it without giving him a chance to read it. He is then taken to meet the head of Syrian military intelligence, who has been joined by Canadian officials for the occasion. Arar is freed and put on a plane to Feb. 5, 2004: Government sets up a formal inquiry under Justice Dennis O’Connor to look into the whole Arar case.

Sept. 18, 2006: Justice O’Connor’s report exonerates Arar of any wrongdoing, says inexperienced RCMP investigators wrongly gave inaccurate, unfair and overstated evidence about Arar’s alleged terrorist leanings to American authorities and recommends compensation for Arar.

Jan. 26, 2007: Federal government settles with Arar with $10.5 million, plus legal fees. Prime Minister Stephen Harper offers a formal apology.

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