If you wonder sometimes why the rest of the world questions how the U.S. has dealt with alleged terrorists hold up the example of Maher Arar.
Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian citizen and a computer engineer, was seized on September 26, 2002, at Kennedy Airport in New York on his way home from Tunisia. On October 8, Arar was flown to Jordan in an American government plane and taken to Syria; he was held for 10 months and beaten repeatedly with a metal cable. He was freed in October 2003, and returned to Canada.
A Canadian government commission has exonerated Arar of any ties to terrorism and issued a scathing report that faulted Canada and the United States.
The report noted that American officials acted on inaccurate information from Canadian investigators and misled Canadian authorities about their plans for Arar.
"I am able to say categorically that there is no evidence to indicate that Mr. Arar has committed any offense or that his activities constituted a threat to the security of Canada," Justice Dennis R. O’Connor, head of the commission, said at a news conference.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper told the press that Canada planned to act on the report. "Probably in the few weeks to come we’ll be able to give you more details on that," he told reporters.
The seizure of a Canadian citizen on U.S. soil is frightening enough; to be taken away where his family did not know what was going on, and then beaten and tortured is incomprehensible. And on top of all that, he was innocent. Thank goodness for the commission to find out more about this horrible act.
Special thanks to The New York Times for their help in this story.