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Canadian Man Deported by U.S. Details Torture in Syria
Canadian citizen Maher Arar said he was repeatedly beaten and tortured and kept in a cell three feet wide after the U.S. secretly deported him to Syria. Anonymous officials told the Washington Post that the U.S. knowingly sends suspects abroad to be tortured. We go to Canada to speak with Maher Arar.

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Canadian citizen, Maher Arar, who was detained by U.S. officials last year during a stopover in a New York airport, said he was repeatedly tortured after the U.S. secretly deported him to Syria where he spent 374 days in a Damascus prison without charges.

In Syria, Arar said he was repeatedly beaten and tortured, kept in a cell three feet wide and forced to sign false confessions. During a press conference on Tuesday he said, "I was willing to confess to anything to stop the torture." He added, "I am not a terrorist. I am not a member of al Qaeda. I have never been to Afghanistan."

The U.S. says Arar’s name appeared on lists of suspected terrorists. But why was he sent to Syria instead of Canada where is a citizen and he has lived for the past 15 years?

On Wednesday, officials told the Washington Post anonymously that the U.S. knowingly sends suspects abroad to be tortured. One official said "The temptation is to have these folks in other hands because they have different standards," while another said, "Someone might be able to get information we can't from detainees."

The Post also reported that a high-ranking Syrian diplomat said that Syria agreed to imprison Arar in a gesture of goodwill toward the United States. Imad Moustafa, chargé d'affaires at the Syrian Embassy in Washington said U.S. officials told the Syrians they had "solid information" about Arar's links to al Qaeda but never produced any.

Moustafa also said Syrian officials freed Arar a month ago because the Bush administration cut communications with the government in Damascus and because they wanted to maintain good ties with the Canadian government.

  • Maher Arar, Syrian-born Canadian citizen who spent a year imprisoned in Syria after U.S. officials detained him at a New York airport during a stopover.

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