Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Arar Commission Recommends New RCMP Oversight Agency

Commissioner Dennis O’Connor today released his second report of his commission of inquiry [press release] into the events surrounding the deportation in 2002 of Canadian engineer Maher Arar to his native country Syria, where he was tortured for a year before being returned to Canada. The full report is available on the Commission website.

The deportation in 2002 was at the hands of U.S. authorities who relied on faulty information from Canada that Arar was suspected of terrorism.

O'Connor recommends creating an Independent Complaints and National Security Review Agency for the RCMP with jurisdiction to review all of the RCMP's activities, including those related to national security.

He also also recommends that independent review procedures be established for other agencies involved in national security activities - Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Transport Canada, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (which tracks money laundering and terrorist financing), Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada and the Canadian Border Security Agency.

The CBC has more on the 2nd O'Connor report.

In a parallel development, Stockwell Day, federal Public Safety Minister, announced today that the government would conduct a similar official inquiry into the cases of three other Canadian citizens who claim they were detained and tortured by Syrian secret police in 2001 and 2004. The CBC has details about this new inquiry to be conducted by former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci.

Earlier Library Boy posts about the Maher Arar affair include:
  • Arar Commission Report Presented to Parliament (September 18, 2006): "Arar is considered a high profile victim of the U.S. policy called extraordinary rendition under which terrorism suspects are secretly sent to dictatorships where they can be interrogated under torture beyond the reach of any human rights laws or judicial protections. Commissioner Dennis O’Connor concluded that there is no evidence Arar was ever connected to terrorism or was ever a security threat to Canada."
  • RCMP Reaction to Arar Commission Report (September 28, 2006): "Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli apologized today to Maher Arar and said he accepts all the recommendations of a report criticizing the federal police force's role in Arar's deportation to Syria."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:34 pm


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