For more than a year, Abdullah Almalki, a 34-year-old engineer, "was routinely subjected to physical and psychological torture at the hands of interrogators who knew things that only Canadian authorities would have known," the daily Globe and Mail reported.

Almalki, who came to Canada at 16, worked in the 1990s for UN-sponsored aid projects helping to relocate Afghans who fled their country during the Soviet invasion in the early 1980s, the report said.

The projects were administered by a Canadian who has since been identified as the head of a family with suspected strong ties to al-Qaida. The Canadian, Ahmed Said Khadr, was killed in a shootout with Pakistani soldiers two years ago, according to the Globe and Mail.

Export business

"If you are going to chop off my head, at least do it here in Canada"

Abdullah Almalki,
34-year-old engineer

When he returned to Canada, Almalki opened a business exporting electronic components to Pakistan.

That, together with his travels to Afghanistan, sparked suspicions of Canadian intelligence officers who interviewed him several times between 1998 and 2001.

In January 2002, Almalki was questioned during a stay in Malaysia, his wife's country of origin.

A Malaysian official told him that the Canadian government had requested the questioning.


Almalki was arrested at the airport in Damascus when he went there to visit his ailing grandmother in May 2002.

For almost two years, his Syrian jailers interrogated and tortured him based on information provided by Ottawa, he said.

Unable to work

Now suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, he is unable

Maher Arar's (R) detention in a
Damascus jail is being probed

to perform simple arithmetic, and unable to work, the daily said.

"If you are going to chop off my head, at least do it here in Canada," Almalki was quoted as saying.

A federal inquiry is currently probing the role of the Canadian government in the case of Maher Arar, another Canadian of Syrian origin who says Canada is behind his 10-month detention in Syria.

A third Canadian of Syrian origin was similarly detained in Syria, according to the Globe and Mail.