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Canadian MPs Call for Compensation for Torture Victims

Maybe it’s a cultural thing, but Canadians seem so much more willing to apologize for their mistakes than Americans do.

According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, a committee in Parliament is planning to recommend that the Canadian government compensate and apologize to three Arab-Canadian men who were imprisoned and tortured in Syria, due partly to information provided by Canadian authorities.

The three men — Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati and Muayyed Nureddin — were accused of having ties to al-Qaeda, which they all deny. A report by former Supreme Court of Canada justice Frank Iacobucci last year concluded that the three men were tortured, and that Canadian officials’ actions contributed to their treatment.

The cases of these three men, all of whom are now suing the Canadian government, has an obvious parallel with that of Maher Arar, the Canadian citizen captured by U.S. authorities while changing planes at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and sent to Syria to be interrogated under torture in 2002. The Canadian government, after conducting a thorough investigation that found Arar had done nothing wrong, apologized for its role in providing information to U.S. authorities and paid Arar $10 million to compensate for his ordeal.

The United States, on the other hand, has refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing on its part, and still won’t allow Arar even to enter the country. In December, the full Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York heard spirited arguments in his lawsuit against the U.S. government.

Arar was not allowed to attend.

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