Canada court orders release of uncensored Arar report

[JURIST] Canada's Federal Court Wednesday ordered [PDF text; summary, PDF] the government to publicly release previously censored portions of a report on Maher Arar [advocacy website; CBC timeline], a Canadian citizen who was detained in the US in 2002 and removed to Syria where he was tortured. Justice Simon Noel, however, said that not all of the report should be disclosed, but that some words will remain blacked out. During arguments in the spring, the Arar Commission said that the public needed to have access the information in the report, but the Canadian attorney general said that national security could be compromised if the information was disclosed. In his decision, Noel said that he "agreed in part with the Attorney General and in part with the Commission."

At issue in the dispute is the September 2006 report detailing the factual findings [commission materials; JURIST report] of the Arar Commission [official website], the official judicial inquiry established in 2004 [JURIST report] to trace the events leading to Arar's deportation to Syria. The commission concluded that Canadian officials did not play a role in the US decision to detain and remove Arar, but said that the US decision was "very likely" based on inaccurate, unfair and overstated information about Arar passed on by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In its later policy review [commission materials; JURIST report], the commission recommended that a new agency be created to review the RCMP's national security activities. CTV has more.

 

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