Arar family fears intimidation: Inquiry witness interrogated in Tunisia
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For immediate release
9 September 04
Two relatives of the Arar family have been interviewed in the last six weeks by the Tunisian Intelligence Service based on information that could only have come from Canadian officials.
“This has caused my family in Tunisia severe emotional stress”, says Monia Mazigh, “It seems designed to make us fearful about testifying at the Inquiry.”
Mourad Mazigh, brother of Maher Arar’s wife Monia, is scheduled as a witness in the Arar Inquiry into the arrest, deportation and torture of Maher Arar. When his testimony was postponed, Mr. Mazigh returned home to Tunisia in late July to resume his duties as a university professor. Within a week of his arrival, he was visited by officers from the Tunisian Intelligence Service. They had knowledge of events that could only have come from someone in Canada and Mazigh believes he was interrogated
at the request of Canadian officials.
In late August, Tunisian Intelligence also visited Arar’s father-in-law, who was asked if Maher Arar had applied for permanent residence status in Tunisia. In earlier reports, the RCMP had speculated that Arar had tried to move to Tunisia to escape surveillance.
“The RCMP have been trying to prove this for more than two years,” says Maher Arar. “It’s outrageous that they would have my father-in-law visited just because they are desperate to find evidence that isn’t there.”
Arar’s lawyers have twice asked for an urgent response from the Department of Justice. In their letter of 7 September, Lorne Waldman and Marlys Edwardh say that these contacts "risk undermining the integrity of the inquiry process".
Maher Arar, Monia Mazigh and Lorne Waldman will hold a news conference this morning at 11:30 a.m. in the Charles Lynch Room of the House of Commons.
Contact: Halima Mautbur, 613-521-0006, firstname.lastname@example.org
Media Relations, Arar Support Committee