BCCLA calls for investigation into Canada’s complicity in torture

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association is calling on the Prime Minister to move immediately to appoint an independent investigator to probe what appears to be a pattern of Canadian government complicity in the process of ‘rendering’ Canadians suspected of terrorism to be tortured offshore.

Ahmad El Maati, Abdullah Almalki, Maher Arar and Muayyed Nureddin say they were tortured in Egypt and Syria between 2001 and 2003, allegedly with the knowledge and tacit approval of the Canadian government. These allegations provide reasonable grounds to believe that Canada has involved itself in the most serious and reprehensive human rights abuses.

While the BCCLA acknowledges that the Prime Minister reluctantly called an inquiry into the deportation and torture of Maher Arar, the Association believes that looking at the Arar case in isolation will be unable to reveal the broader Canadian policy on torture.

Says Jason Gratl, the BCCLA President: “Canada’s official stance is that we are opposed to torture. The unofficial practice may well have the effect of promoting and utilizing torture. Canadians deserve to know what our government is doing on our behalf.”

In issuing this call, the BCCLA supports the recent calls by Amnesty International, opposition party leaders and many other Canadians for a thorough investigation into these grave matters. The Canadian conscience has been seized by the Maher Arar case, and Canadians have made it abundantly clear that they do not want their government involved in the dirty business of torture. A full and public investigation of these apparently related cases is needed immediately.