DHS investigator reopens Arar rendition probe

[JURIST] The Department of Homeland Security's internal investigations department has reopened an investigation into the extraordinary rendition [JURIST news archive] of Canadian engineer Maher Arar [advocacy website; JURIST news archive], DHS Inspector General Richard Skinner [official profile] told a congressional subcommittee Thursday. Skinner said that new information contradicts an earlier conclusion [congressional testimony, PDF] clearing US agencies of wrongdoing in the extradition. Arar was detained in the US in 2002 on suspicion of being affiliated with al-Qaeda after flying to New York from Tunisia on his way home to Canada. He was later deported to Syria, where he says he was tortured. Internal investigators initially concluded [DHS report, PDF] that the decision to send him to Syria was proper. The Department of Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility [official website] is also investigating DOJ officials' role in Arar's rendition. AP has more. CBC has additional coverage.

In October 2007, US lawmakers apologized [JURIST report] to Arar during a joint hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee [official website]. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice testified [recorded video] in front of the same committee that Arar's rendition was not "handled as it should have been," but stopped short of apologizing. Rice added that the US government has told the Canadian government that it will "try to do better in the future." That was the first time that the US government has admitted any mistakes in its handling of Arar's case. In January 2007, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized to Arar [JURIST report] on behalf of the Canadian government and announced a settlement with him of $10.5 million (CAD) compensation for pain and suffering.

 

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