Canadian government and Arar reach a settlement

THis is great news for Arar and his family. I thought it would take much longer. In contrast Arar's US suit was thrown out and is at the appeal stage. I expect it will get nowhere because of "security resons". There really needs to be a US investigation that forces Gonzales, Chertoff and others to explain themselves.

Ottawa reaches settlement with Arar
Last Updated: Thursday, January 25, 2007 | 10:31 PM ET
CBC News
The federal government has reached a settlement with Maher Arar, who had been seeking compensation for Canada's role in a U.S. decision to deport him to Syria, where he was jailed and tortured, CBC News has learned.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is scheduled to make an announcement about it on Friday.

Maher Arar, shown in September, had originally sought millions in compensation and a government apology.
(CBC) Arar, a Canadian citizen born in Syria, had originally sought millions in compensation and a government apology. While no financial terms were disclosed, the prime minister has said in the past that any Arar apology would accompany a settlement.

Arar, who now lives in Kamloops, B.C., will be in Ottawa on Friday and plans to speak to the media after Harper's announcement.

In 2002, the engineer was living in Ottawa and coming back from a vacation when he arrested during a stopover at New York's JFK Airport.

U.S. authorities deported him to Syria, where he was tortured.

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Ottawa set up a judicial inquiry into the case led by Justice Dennis O'Connor after Arar returned to Canada more than a year later.

O'Connor released his report in September 2006, concluding that Arar had no links to terrorist organizations or militants. He also concluded the RCMP had given misleading information to U.S. authorities, which may have been the reason he was sent to Syria.

Arar received a unanimous apology from the House of Commons after the report's release. However, the Conservative government later drew a distinction between a parliamentary apology and an official government apology, calling it the former.

At the time, the prime minister acknowledged that Arar had suffered a "tremendous injustice," but noted that Arar had launched legal proceedings against the government. Arar added that he was awaiting discussions with lawyers to reach a result that would satisfy Arar.

Earlier this week, U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins criticized Ottawa's efforts to have Arar removed from a United States security watch list, saying Washington alone will decide who to let into the country.

Speaking in Edmonton after meeting with new Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach, Wilkins warned Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day to back off because a U.S. review determined Arar should remain on the watch list.

"It's a little presumptuous for him [Day] to say who the United States can and cannot allow into our country," Wilkins told reporters Wednesday.

The ambassador reiterated that the U.S. found its own reasons to keep Arar on the watch list.

Day said in a visit last week to Washington that he has seen the information and found nothing new to suggest Arar is a safety risk.


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