Maher Arar - Arar's Rendition

Arar's Rendition

On September 26, 2002, during a stopover in New York City en route from a family vacation in Tunisia to Montreal, Arar was detained by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). The INS was acting upon information supplied by the RCMP. When it became clear he was going to be deported, Arar requested he be deported to Canada; though he had not visited Syria since his move to Canada, he retained Syrian citizenship as Syria does not permit the renunciation of citizenship. Canadian (initially) and United States officials have labelled his transfer to Syria as a deportation, but critics have called the removal an example of rendition for torture by proxy, as the Syrian government is infamous for its torture of detainees. Despite the recent public rhetoric, at the time of Arar's deportation, Syria was working closely with the United States government in their "War on Terror". In November 2003, Cofer Black, then counterterrorism coordinator at the US State Department and former director of counterterrorism at the CIA, was quoted as saying "The Syrian government has provided some very useful assistance on al Qaeda in the past." In September 2002, the George W. Bush administration opposed the enactment of the "Syria Accountability Act" citing effectiveness of current sanctions and the ongoing diplomacy in the region. In addition, the administration noted the cooperation and support by Syria in fighting al-Qaida as a reason for its opposition to the "Syria Accountability Act".

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