Majority vote in Parliament calls for an official apology and compensation for three Canadian Muslim men tortured overseas
(Ottawa, December 3, 2009) The majority of the House of Commons has just voted in favour of compensation and a formal apology for three Canadian Muslim men who were detained and tortured overseas.
The vote was on a concurrence motion, moved by NDP MP Don Davies, and supported by all opposition parties, calling on the government to implement recommendations contained in a report by the parliamentary Public Safety Committee.
The report, tabled on June 18, 2009 and debated in the House of Commons today, came out of a study of findings by the Iacobucci Inquiry and the Arar Inquiry.
The Iacobucci Inquiry determined that the actions of Canadian officials, such as providing questions and information to Syrian and Egyptian interrogators, likely contributed to the torture of El Maati, Almalki and Nureddin.
In addition to an apology and compensation, the committee report calls on the government to correct misinformation shared about the men with foreign agencies – information containing allegations which retired Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci determined were variously inaccurate, inflammatory, and without evidentiary basis.
Just yesterday one of the men, Abdullah Almalki, was told he would not be permitted to board a flight from Toronto to Windsor. Another of the men, Muayyed Nureddin, whose family is in Iraq, cannot travel to see them without risk of being detained and tortured again.
“Today’s vote is an important breakthrough in the struggle for justice for these men, as it is now clear that the majority of the members in the House of Commons believe they must receive a formal apology and compensation for their ordeals,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General for Amnesty International Canada.
The report also calls on the government to urgently implement a recommendation made by the Arar Commission on December 12, 2006, calling for a new system of checks and balances for the agencies tasked with national security investigations.
“The government needs to stop stalling and finally implement a system of review that will help ensure that Canada will never again be complicit in the torture of its own citizens,” said Kerry Pither, author of Dark Days, a book chronicling the investigation that targeted the men and what the men endured as a consequence.
“Let’s hope the government listens, and acts in accordance with the will of parliament,” she added.
The vote on concurrence with the report took place after almost three hours of debate in the House of Commons today, a debate that the government tried, but failed, when put to a vote, to have adjourned.
For more information, please contact:
Kerry Pither on cell (613) 294-2203
Media and External Communications Officer
416-363-9933 ext 332
Tags: Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati, Alex Neve, Amnesty International, Arar Commission, Canada, Canadian Muslims, Dark Days, Egy, Egypt, House of Commons, Iacobucci inquiry, Kerry Pither, Muayyed Nureddin, Syria
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