Right before the trials at Guantanamo were ordered to be halted, a military court was told that Maher Arar was in North America during the time he was supposedly in Afghanistan.
fuck yeah. Canada has joined Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International in adding the U.S. and Israel to their list of countries who torture. Have we learned our lesson?
Yesterday, the Arar Commission released their report on the handling of the Maher Arar case, previously mentioned here or here. The findings are widely reported; Canada is self-flagellating for being complicit in the United States' abduction and torture of a Canadian citizen. As President Bush goes to Congress to lobby for the legal authority to abduct and torture anyone without a trial, Arar should consider himself lucky: although Canada didn't help him out for a year, the Canadian government and news media were aware of and interested in his confinement, which likely saved him from the worst tortures. As a famous legal scholar commented some 240 years ago, "To bereave a man of life, or by violence to confiscate his estate, without accusation or trial, would be so gross and notorious an act of despotism, as must at once convey the alarm of tyranny throughout the whole nation; but confinement of the person, by secretly hurrying him to jail, where his sufferings are unknown or forgotten, is a less public, a less striking, and therefore a more dangerous engine of arbitrary government."
Some eighteen months ago, I posted a link detailing the case of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen scooped up at an American airport and sent to Syria by the American governement. A month later, Arar released a frightening statement describing the conditions of his torture at the hands of the Syrian government. And now comes word that not only was the response of the Canadian government wholly lacklustre, but "Canadian officials failed to act to prevent Arar's deportation – and once he was in Syria, Canadian authorities appeared more interested in Arar's interrogation than his treatment."