Canadian rendition victim still on US watch list
Friday, December 15, 2006
Maher Arar, the Canadian citizen of Syrian descent who was detained by the US as part of the CIA's extraordinary rendition program, and tortured in a Syrian prison, remains on a post-9/11 US government watch list, RAW STORY has learned.
In a Canadian Broadcast Corporation radio appearance, US Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins, when asked if Arar was still on a government watch list responded, "My information is that he is on the watch list and has been since he was deported, yes."
Maher Arar was detained on suspicion of links to al Qaida at New York's Kennedy Airport in September 2002 en route to his home in Canada from a family vacation in Tunisia. After a series of steps that appeared highly illegal, the US transferred Arar first to Jordanian and then to Syrian custody, where he was detained and tortured for more than a year before his release was finally secured. A Canadian government commission cleared him of any wrongdoing in September of this year.
The Center for Constitutional Rights, a New York-based group that has advocated on Arar's behalf, said "That the United States would have the gall to keep Maher on a watch list, implying that he poses a threat to this country, is outrageous, although not surprising, since this Administration is unwilling to admit its mistakes and still tries to conceal them. The real threat to the U.S. is our government’s utter disregard for the rule of law and for the truth," in a statement sent to RAW STORY.
In another CBC interview two days ago, Canada's Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day pledged that "the situation that happened with Mr. Arar would not happen today."
CCR's full statement can be accessed at their website.