(OTTAWA, CANADA - 11/4/2003) Following today's testimony by Maher Arar regarding what happened to him during the last year, the Canadian office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) questioned whether Canadian security agencies may be "subcontracting" torture against Canadian citizens. CAIR-CAN also reaffirmed the pressing need for an independent public inquiry into Maher Arar's case.
In a statement released today, CAIR-CAN said: "We have grave concerns given Arar's testimony that our security agencies may be subcontracting torture against Canadian citizens.
"We are beyond the question whether the RCMP passed information to the Americans. Based on Arar's testimony, it would appear that the information that the RCMP provided to the Americans was substantial.
"We also have fresh information about the involvement of CSIS. According to Arar's testimony, there was an ongoing communication channel between CSIS and the Syrians while Arar was in Syria. CSIS made two visits to Syria while Arar was there and the Syrians gave CSIS a copy of the interrogation transcripts.
"All this leads to the fear that security agencies may be using evidence acquired by torture and mistreatment against Canadian citizens and non-citizens. Is any of this evidence being used against people held under security certificates?
"And now we have the case of another Canadian, Abdullah alMalki, who has reportedly been severely tortured, denied his basic rights, not charged, detained for a year and a half and denied consular access. The role of the RCMP and CSIS in his case also needs to be seriously examined.
"If Canada wants to retain its stature as a country that respects human rights and fundamental freedoms, then our government must come clean about the involvement of the RCMP and CSIS in the year-long suffering of Maher Arar. Our government has a moral duty to Maher Arar to provide him with answers and a duty to all Canadians to ensure that this nightmare never reoccurs. The best avenue continues to be an independent public inquiry."
CONTACT: Riad Saloojee at 613-254-9704; E-MAIL: Canada@cair-net.org