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Three Canadians tortured in Syria seek Arar-style case review

[JURIST] Three Canadian citizens supported by Amnesty International Canada [advocacy website] demanded an official inquiry into their cases Thursday along the lines of that undertaken for Maher Arar [JURIST news archive] to determine what role Canadian security forces played in their arrest and alleged torture in Syria between 2001 and 2004. Kuwaiti-born Ahmad El Maati, Syrian-born Abdullah Almalki and Iraqi-born Muayyed Nureddin each claim they were detained and tortured by Syrian military intelligence during trips abroad, with the complicit cooperation [Amnesty backgrounder, PDF] of Canadian officials. Almalki says he was kept in underground solitary confinement for 482 consecutive days and was whipped and beaten with electrical cable. He considers it interrogation and torture by proxy [CBC report] at the behest of the Canadian government.

The three and Amnesty International Canada say that besides clearing their names, a formal review of their cases is additionally necessary to restore confidence in the Canadian Security Intelligence Service [official website] and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police [official website]. They say a probe should follow the model of the Arar Commission [official website], which published its final report [JURIST report] last month. Maher Arar, a Canadian software engineer, was detained by US authorities on a 2002 stopover at JFK airport in New York while returning to Canada from a family vacation in Tunisia. He was subsequently sent to Syria, where he was imprisoned and tortured. The Arar Commission found that the US decision to arrest and deport Arar was "very likely" based on faulty, unfair and overstated information passed on by the RCMP. AFP has more.

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