Thursday, October 19, 2006

"They hate us for our ... um, sorry, come again?"

I'm fairly sure this wasn't how this was supposed to end (emphasis added):

Syrian torturers could find nothing to implicate Canadian Maher Arar in al-Qaida or any other terrorist ties. An official Canadian government report agreed with that finding and recommended that Arar be compensated for his 10 months in a Syrian prison.

Still, Arar remains on the U.S. government terror watch list. And the United States has not admitted fault for holding him incommunicado for a week, then, five days after his first telephone call, putting him on a private jet and flying him to the Syrian prison.

Arar and his American lawyer, Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, were invited to Washington on Wednesday to receive human rights awards from the rights advocates Institute for Policy Studies. Ratner came from his New York headquarters to accept for the center, a longtime campaigner against torture and other abuses.

Because the watch list will not let Arar enter the United States, he had to stay in Canada and participate by telephone in a discussion of his case and of the U.S. law signed Tuesday by President Bush on treatment and prosecution of detainees.

At this point, Maher, I suggest you count your blessings and quite while you're ahead. Under the circumstances, do you really want to push your luck?

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