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Deportee Alleges Torture

November 05, 2003|From Times Wire Services

OTTAWA — A Canadian deported to his native Syria by U.S. agents in 2002 said at a news conference Tuesday that he was tortured by Syrian agents.

Maher Arar, a telecommunications engineer freed in October after a year in jail, said that during the first two weeks of prison he was beaten with shredded cables, and he endured psychological torture for much of the rest of his detention.

Arar, 33, demanded a full public inquiry. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are already under investigation for possible wrongdoing.

U.S. officials who denied Arar transit through the United States before deporting him to Syria alleged that he belonged to the Al Qaeda terrorist network and said privately that they had acted on data supplied by Canadian police.

Arar said the American authorities asked him to sign a declaration without letting him read it, and he did so.

He said he was forced in Syria to sign a confession falsely saying he had gone to Afghanistan.

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