Inquiry concludes Arar likely deported on false Canadian information

THis is an old (Sept 18 2006) CBC report at the time the Arar inquiry report was released. In contrast to recent statements by Gonzales the inquiry found that in all probability the deportation was based upon info provided by Canadian intelligence sources some of it wildly mistaken. I am sure there was a report by US sources stating the same thing but I can't find it as of now. Right up until Arar was deported the US authorities were pleading with RCMP to give them more information and asked them if Arar would be arrested if they sent him to Canada. Canadian authorities ssid no. THey had no evidence that would justify an arrest. It was probably at that point the US decided to send him to SYria for further questioning. If they had their own strong evidence they would have held him in the US.


False RCMP info 'very likely' led to Arar deportation: report
Last Updated: Monday, September 18, 2006 | 6:33 PM ET
CBC News
The U.S. decision to send Maher Arar to Syria was "very likely" based on inaccurate and misleading information from the RCMP, according to an inquiry report released Monday, but there is no evidence Canadian officials played a direct role in his detention or deportation.

But Justice Dennis O'Connor, who led the public inquiry into the case, concluded that Canadian officials did leak information to damage Arar's reputation.



Maher Arar arrives at the Ottawa airport early Sunday morning from his home in Kamloops, B.C.
(Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)
O'Connor also concluded that Arar was an innocent victim and was not involved in al-Qaeda activities in any way, as U.S. officials had alleged.

"I am able to say categorically that there is no evidence to indicate that Mr. Arar has committed any offence or that his activities constituted a threat to the security of Canada," wrote the judge.

Arar, who then lived in Ottawa, was travelling back to Canada from a family vacation in Tunisia in September 2002 when he was pulled off a plane in New York. Within days, he was sent to Syria, where he says government officials detained him, systematically tortured him and kept him in jail for a year.

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RCMP gave U.S. distorted information

The judge concluded that RCMP investigators without much experience wrongly gave their U.S. counterparts inaccurate, unfair and overstated evidence about the Syrian-Canadian engineer's alleged terrorist sympathies.

"The RCMP provided American authorities with information about Mr. Arar that was inaccurate, portrayed him in an unfairly negative fashion and overstated his importance in the RCMP investigation," O'Connor said at a news conference on Monday.

"It is very likely that, in making the decision to detain and remove Mr. Arar to Syria, the U.S. authorities relied on information about Mr. Arar provided by the RCMP," O'Connor concluded.

O'Connor said the RCMP asked American authorities to look out for Arar and his wife Monia Mazigh in the U.S.

The agency described the couple as "Islamic extremist individuals suspected of being linked to the al-Qaeda terrorist network," according to the report.

"The RCMP had no basis for this description," O'Connor said.

The judge also criticized the RCMP, which shared information with U.S. authorities, without screening it for relevancy, reliability or privacy concerns. And he accused RCMP officials of giving a sanitized summary of the Arar case to top government officials in order to cover up the RCMP mistake.

The judge, who reviewed hundreds of documents about the case, supported Arar's claims that he was tortured during his imprisonment.

But O'Connor said reports were prepared by government officials after Arar's release that had the "effect of downplaying the mistreatment or torture to which Mr. Arar had been subjected."

He also slammed Canadian officials for leaking "confidential and sometimes inaccurate information about the case to the media for the purpose of damaging Mr. Arar's reputation or protecting their self-interests or government's interests."

O'Connor came up with 23 recommendations, including one that states the government should assess Arar's claims for compensation.

The public inquiry into the engineer's detention, deportation and alleged torture involved more than 120 days of testimony and cost $15 million by the time it concluded the main phase of its hearings in September 2005.

"I wanted to repair my reputation," Arar said following the release of the report. "Today, Judge O'Connor has cleared my reputation.

"I ask the prime minister to put these recommendations into effect without delay."

PM promises government action

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the government does intend to act, but gave no indication of the specific moves it'll make.

"Probably in the few weeks to come we'll be able to give you more details on that," he said.

Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, who has responsibility for the RCMP, said he's just received the report and needs time to study it.

A damage suit filed by Arar against the government was put on hold during the inquiry.

Day indicated there's unlikely to be any quick movement on financial compensation.

"Certain civil actions have already been commenced by Mr. Arar and really we have to let those lawyers discuss those," he said.

With files from the Canadian Press

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