'Groundbreaking' Torture Charges Put US Rendition Tactics in Spotlight
Canada on Tuesday filed charges against a Syrian intelligence officer for torturing Maher Arar, the Canadian citizen who was handed over to the Syrian government in 2002 by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
The whereabouts of the officer, Col. George Salloum, are unknown and it is unlikely that he will be arrested and extradited to Canada to face charges. But Arar’s family said the move by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) signals a newly strengthened opposition to CIA tactics of kidnapping and rendition.
It is also the first formal acknowledgment that Arar was tortured as a terror suspect, although an earlier investigation by the Canadian government in 2006 also cleared him of any links to extremist organizations. Arar’s ordeal became one of the most well-known cases of extraordinary rendition.
“This is a clear message to my husband—and to whoever denied that torture happened—that this is real and that you cannot commit torture [with] impunity,” his wife, Monia Mazigh, said on Tuesday.
The charges are “a big step in the right direction,” Mazigh added. “We need to see more accountability happening in Canada, in the U.S., in Jordan and in Syria. The ones who tortured and the ones who helped these horrible acts to happen should face justice.”
Click Here: cheap Cowboys jersey
One of Arar’s attorneys, Paul Champ, said the charges were “groundbreaking and historic… critical for a family who have long struggled for justice.”
Salloum reportedly oversaw Arar’s treatment at the notorious Sednaya prison in Damascus. According to the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represented Arar in a lawsuit against former Attorney General John Ashcroft and other U.S. government officials, Arar was sent to the facility after being detained during a layover with his family at John F. Kennedy airport in New York. After nearly two weeks in custody by U.S. authorities, Arar was rendered to Syria, where he remained for almost a year. He was never charged with a crime.
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT