Monday, January 22, 2007

Hasn't he suffered enough?!?

As part of my day job, I monitor and write about the integration of Canada's economic/military/security policies with the United States. Sometimes it feels like those issues are far-removed from peoples' every day lives, and I find it challenging to try to make that connection clear for my audience. But this is like a sucker punch in the gut. Last year, I had the privilege of hearing Maher Arar speak about his experiences battling the Canadian government to clear his name. And now this. Unbelievable. Unconscionable.

Maher Arar to stay on U.S. no-fly list: letter

The United States will keep Canadian Maher Arar on its security watch list.

Homeland Secretary Michael Chertoff and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales have written a letter to Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day.

The letter says the two have reviewed the U.S. government's secret file on Arar. They think he should still be on the list.

The two said their decision is based on information obtained by U.S. authorities, independent of anything supplied by Canada.

"We want to ensure that this U.S.-derived information has been shared with Canada, and that both countries have an understanding of the facts. To this end, we welcome an opportunity to participate in a confidential meeting with appropriate Canadian officials at their earliest convenience," the letter said.

Day had raised the Arar issue during a visit to Washington last week. Day's position is that Canadian officials see no reason why Arar shouldn't be able to visit the United States.

Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian, was detained in New York while returning from a holiday in Tunisia. U.S. officials sent him to Syria, where he spent 10 months in prison.

His Syrian jailers tortured him into making a false confession about terrorism links.

Justic Dennis O'Connor conducted an inquiry into the Arar case. His first report, issued Sept. 18, cleared Arar. He found the RCMP supplied wrong information about Arar to U.S. authorities.
More to come ...

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