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My Canada: Maher Arar

The Story

Maher Arar's once-idyllic vision of Canada was erased when the combined errors of Canadian and U.S. authorities resulted in his imprisonment and torture in a Syrian jail. Now freed, Arar has lost faith in some Canadian institutions, but he draws hope from the people of his adopted country.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: July 1, 2005
Commentator: Maher Arar
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Duration: 1:28

Did You know?

• On January 26, 2007, Prime Minister Stephen Harper formally apologized to Maher Arar for the role Canadian officials played in his imprisonment and torture. He received $10.5 million, plus another $1 million to cover legal fees.

• Several U.S. politicians also apologized to Arar, although the U.S. government has not officially acknowledged any wrongdoing and continued to list Arar on a no-fly list as of 2008. Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy was especially outspoken on the Arar affair, notably in a 2007 U.S. Senate hearing where lambasted then-U.S. attorney-general Alberto Gonzales, saying "We knew damn well if he went to Syria, he'd be tortured."





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