Canada had role in torture of its nationals, probe reveals


Canadian officials played an "indirect" role in the wrongful jailing and torture of three Canadian nationals in Syria and Egypt, an inquiry said Tuesday.

The probe, led by retired Supreme Court judge Frank Iacobucci, began in March behind closed doors to determine if the trio was mistreated abroad and whether Canadian authorities shared intelligence with their counterparts in these countries, as alleged.

Canadians Ahmad El Maati, Abdullah Almalki and Muayyed Nureddin, born in Kuwait, Syria and Iraq respectively, were arrested by Syrian Military Intelligence during trips abroad from 2001 to 2004, suspected of al-Qaida links.

El Maati said he was later transferred to Egyptian custody.

All three men were released without charges between January and March 2004.

Each claimed upon return to Canada that he had been tortured, and that Canadian security officials had supplied their captors with intelligence and questions to pose the detainees.

Iacobucci found that Canadian officials did not have direct responsibility for detention or abuse "that amounted to torture, as that term is defined in the U.N. Convention Against Torture," said a statement announcing release of the inquiry's findings.

But he found that "mistreatment resulted indirectly" from actions taken by Canadian intelligence agencies and federal police, including information sharing and in some cases "deficiencies" of consular service provided to the men.

"I found no evidence that any of these officials were seeking to do anything other than carry out conscientiously the duties and responsibilities of the institutions of which they were a part," the judge said.

"It is neither necessary nor appropriate that I make findings concerning the actions of any individual Canadian official, and I have not done so."

He added that the probe was also not given a mandate to investigate the conduct of the three Canadians.

"Nothing in the report should be taken as an indication that any allegation that might have been made against any of them is founded," the statement said.

The commission was created in the wake of the case of Maher Arar, a dual Canadian-Syrian citizen who claimed he was tortured in Syria after U.S. authorities arrested him in New York in 2002.

A 2007 judicial report found U.S. authorities had likely relied on faulty intelligence provided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to arrest and deport Arar, who was absolved of suspicion and awarded $10 million by the Canadian government for his ordeal.

The three men recently pleaded with Canadian officials to open the inquiry to the public.

"I'm still waiting for real answers so I can get on with my life," El Maati, accused by Canadian authorities of links to al-Qaida, said on October 12, 2007.

"I'm here today to ask Prime Minister (Stephen) Harper to help us and all Canadians get answers ... to help us open up this inquiry."

Nureddin told reporters: "My life is in limbo. Not knowing what is going on at the inquiry, not being able to participate in an inquiry into why I was tortured, not knowing the exact role Canada played in this, not knowing all of this makes this limbo another form of torture."

Almalki said he was "frustrated" by the secrecy of the hearings. "As the saying goes, justice must not only be done, but it must be seen to be done."

El Maati, who holds dual Canadian-Egyptian citizenship, said he was on his way to celebrate his wedding in Syria when he was stopped at the Damascus airport in November 2001.

Nureddin was going to visit family in northern Iraq when he was stopped at the Iraqi-Syrian border in December 2003, he said.

Almalki was detained in Damascus in May 2002 while traveling to visit family in Syria. He previously claimed he was forced to sign a false confession that he planned to bomb the Canadian parliament.

He said in October 2006 he made the statement hoping to be immediately returned to Canada where he expected to clear his name.

That the inquiry will not clear their names "is a huge concern," their attorney said.

© Wire reports

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Sounds like the work of the US. Great influence the US has had on the world in recent years. Great stuff!

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Yeah you should know the US is the big bad wolf. This article is about Canada's involvement if any.

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Tip of the iceberg.

Air Canada used the 'indirect' excuse last time luggage for my Osaka via Vancouver flight returned from some place called Yellowknife after obviously having been tortured.

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One can only imagine what the Canadian government does who it trains their lemming citizens to always look over the border.

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Yellowknife is a big diamond mining area in Canada. Watch "ice road truckers"

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I don't see any evidence that the US is responsible for this. I think there are enough things to criticize the US for without inventing more. If the US government was aware of this, I'm sure that it appreciated Canada's apparent zeal. However, it doesn't follow that this was forced by the US.

Canada is a great country. However, it is quite capable of making mistakes. It appears to have made one here.

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The US has nothing to do with this; it is about Canada and the nations where the Canadian nationals were taken and tortured. If it's proven the Canadian officials did indeed play a role in the unlawful detention and torture, then I believe the men deserve to file lawsuits.

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You don't quite seem as emotional with your response as you do with other countries, smith.

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Canadian authorities randomly abuse people of all nationalities and religion affiliation.

If these fellows don't like things in Canada, they should move to Quebec.

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Oh! Canada.

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No, seriously. I thought Canadians were too much better than us to be involved with something like this.

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I thought Canadians were too much better than us to be involved with something like this.

When you have a lot oil and when you start to get called words like "terrorist safe haven". Generally it is a good idea to appear to be taking a similiar stance on the war on terror to the US. Especially when your neighbor is the US.

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and you would think just living in Canada would be torture enough?

Torture in this case, I guess would be in the eye of the beholder. I personally prefer living in Canada, less crime, indirect torturing(although Canada is the only nation not to try to resecue(?)/retrieve its nationals from Gitmo), less billion(s) dollar welfare cheques written, balanced budgets(for now), not broke(yet).

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Canada is not the babysitter of the world. It's nationals that hold dual citizenship or of questionable pasts should expect to be treated accordingly via the authorities of any countries they pass through. It's not Canada's job to go and say please be kind to our citizens because we are a wonderful country and everybody loves us because we are so nice. Questionable people deserve every inquiry coming their way and no Canadian politician should interfere with another country's system. If Canadian authorities provide information to aide those foreign authorities I see nothing wrong with that. So stop crying over spilt milk. Awarding someone $10 million because they had questionable intelligence on a questionable person is just really 甘え in my books. Typical of the whimpiness of our northern neighbors.

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I think that depends on why they are questionable. If they are questionable because of name, creed or ethnic origin, then I think a suit is in order. I can't speak for your $10M figure, but perhaps you could tell us the right amount of damages for enduring 2 or 3 years of torture in such a case.

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