Deported Canadian Maher Arar Found in Syria

Missing Canadian Maher Arar has been located in Syria.

"The Foreign Affairs Department said Monday that it had just been informed by the Syrian government that Maher Arar had arrived from neighbouring Jordan. Spokeswoman Isabelle Savard said Canadian embassy officials were trying to meet with Mr. Arar, who works as a consultant in Ottawa. "She said she didn't know if he was under arrest and she had no details of when he left the U.S. or how he was sent to the Mideast."

"Canadian officials have said Mr. Arar was deported without benefit of a lawyer. The lawyer chosen by Mr. Arar on the advice of Canadian consular representatives didn't show up for the dual Syrian-Canadian citizen's immigration hearing Oct. 7 in New York, an official said last week."

"Normally, a U.S. immigration court would deport a foreign citizen back to his last point of departure — in this case Zurich — but Mr. Arar was ordered sent to Syria. Mr. Arar's supporters in Canada have said he could face severe punishment in Syria because he avoided compulsory military service before leaving the country for Canada as a teenager."

"New U.S. laws permit officials to detain Canadian citizens born in Syria and several other Middle Eastern countries, forcing them to provide fingerprints, be photographed and fill out a form detailing their travel plans. Canada says the law is discriminatory."

Arar came to Canada in 1987 and was naturalized in 1991. He was arrested at JFK sometime last month and wad only been allowed one phone call to his family on October 3. The family called the counsulate and an immigration lawyer in New York, who met with Arar on October 5. The immigration lawyer relates that Arar was "confused, scared and emotional" and that he told her "he was interrogated for several hours by U.S. immigration officials and FBI investigators, and refused to sign an agreement to be deported to Syria."

In case you missed our recent posts with the history of Mr. Arar's (to us) gross mistreatment by the U.S., go here and here.

Thanks to Damn Foreigner for leading us to the Globe article and for his clear explanation of the facts.

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