Saturday, January 27, 2007

Maher Arar

We could have used the $11.5 million to hunt down REAL terrorists. But we fucked-over an innocent man's life (yes, that's how it works - people are innocent first, not guilty first).

We fucked up and we have to pay up.
And we're sorry...

OTTAWA (The Globe & Mail) -- Maher Arar asked for the impossible: "I wish I could buy my life back."

Yesterday he received an official apology from the Prime Minister and an $11.5-million compensation package from the federal government -- the largest legal settlement of its kind in Canadian history. But he says he'll never again know the life he led before 2002 -- as a successful young Canadian computer engineer with a bright future for himself and his family, free to travel to the United States on business, and free of the horrible memories of 10 months in a tiny, wet and rat-infested prison cell in Syria.

In dark moments, Mr. Arar sometimes Googles his own name to see how many hits he gets that also include the label "suspected terrorist." The anger returns. If a reference describes him as "computer engineer" he feels pangs of nostalgia for those days when his life really was so uncomplicated.

But he knows that that life ended more than four years ago when U.S. authorities shipped him off in the middle of the night to Syria, where he was imprisoned and tortured.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, on behalf of the Canadian government, formally apologized yesterday to Mr. Arar for the role the Mounties and other federal officials played in his ordeal" More.

+ Maher Arar +++ CBC News In Depth: Maher Arar
+ Maher Arar (Wikipedia) +++ The Arar Commission


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