GOVERNMENT LAWYER’S COMMENTS PREJUDICIAL TO ARAR INQUIRY
Read the Media Release and the Canadian Consul report here
for immediate release
(Editor’s please note: The following is a statement from Maher Arar)
I am deeply disturbed by comments made yesterday by the lawyer acting for the Attorney General in the Arar Inquiry. Ms McIsaac told a Toronto Star reporter that “no Canadian official knew of the US intention to deport Maher Arar.” This is an astonishing statement on a number of levels. First, as the attached memo (obtained under access to information) of October 3 2002 shows, I met the Canadian Consul in New York while I was under arrest at in the US and informed her that the US authorities said they would deport me to Syria. I also expressed my fears about this to her very clearly and asked for help from the Canadian government.
Secondly, Ms McIsaac’s remarks are offensive and run contrary to what I understood to be the spirit of the Arar Inquiry. Right now, Ms McIsaac is participating in closed door hearings necessitated by her objection to the release of documents and evidence to the public. These hearings are taking place in a secret location where evidence about my case is being examined without any representation from me or my lawyers. For her to make a categorical statement absolving Canadian officials of any knowledge of my deportation amounts to a pronouncement on supposed “evidence” of this without having to offer any proof. It has always been my understanding that these are matters for Justice O’Connor to decide based on his reading of all of the evidence presented in both in camera and public hearings.
Ms McIsaac and the Government of Canada cannot have it both ways. They cannot cloak their actions in the robe of national security and at the same time feel quite free to openly absolve their officials of any blame.
This is particularly galling, when my lawyers and I know that there are other documents which call into question her contention, documents which we are legally bound not to reveal.
As my lawyers are writing a letter to Commission Counsel Paul Cavalluzzo, stating that Ms McIsaac’s statement is prejudicial to my case. I support their call for an immediate hearing with all counsel involved in the Inquiry.
Contact: Kelly Crichton
Maher Arar Support Group