Canada 'had role in torture'

Canadian officials "contributed" to the torture of three citizens, inquiry finds.

    Iacobucci concluded the men had been beaten and burned while in Syrian jails [Reuters]

    Iacobucci said in his report the mistreatment of the men did not result directly from any Canadian action, but Canadian officials indirectly led to the torture of El Maati and Almalki and probably to that of Nureddin, who he concluded had also been tortured in Egypt.

    Each of the three, born in Kuwait, Syria and Iraq respectively, had claimed upon return to Canada to have been tortured and that Canadian security officials had labeled them as "terrorists" and supplied their captors with intelligence and lists of questions to ask them.

    'Life ruined'

    Iacobucci concluded: "I found no evidence that any of these officials were seeking to do anything other than carry out conscientiously the duties and responsibilities of the institutions of which they were a part."

    He found that the officials had not been careful enough in applying labels such as "imminent threat" to the men and in preparing questions for Syrian authorities.

    But Almalki later told a news conference: "The RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] fully knew that I would be tortured if they sent questions.

    "My life had been ruined, my reputation has been ruined."

    The Canadian government ordered the probe in 2006 after an earlier inquiry found that Canadian Maher Arar had been deported to Syria by the United States and tortured there, after what the inquiry said was the false identification of him as an Islamic extremist by Canadian police.

    Stockwell Day, the Canadian public security minister, said security agencies had taken steps to correct shortcomings following the Arar affair.

    He declined to say if compensation would be offered, saying civil lawsuits were in progress.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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