Amnesty International "Deeply Disappointed" by Supreme Court's Decision to Reject Arar Appeal
Human rights organization urges President Obama and Congress to formally apologize and provide compensation for illegal detention
June 14, 2010
Geneve Mantri, counter terrorism with justice government relations director for Amnesty International USA, issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision to reject an appeal from a Canadian engineer, Maher Arar, who was mistakenly picked up by the U.S. government and rendered to Syria because he was thought to be a terrorism suspect:
"The complete lack of remedy and accountability in the U.S. for what happened to Maher Arar is shocking. Eight years after Arar was rendered to Syria where he was tortured, it is a national disgrace that the United States cannot even bring itself to apologize."
"Canada's government established a commission of inquiry which cleared Arar of any connection to terrorism, issued a formal apology from the Prime Minister and provided financial compensation for Arar's suffering. The U.S. government, who removed him without any hearing to a country where the torture and incommunicado detention of political prisoners is common, cannot formally acknowledge, let alone hold accountable, those responsible for what happened to Maher Arar – years after the truth was revealed.
"Informally, members of Congress and other U.S. administration officials have apologized to Arar for the U.S. government's mistakes, but that is not enough. President Obama and Congress must formally apologize to Arar and offer him restitution.
"The Obama administration talks about living its values and practicing what it preaches, but the only values that appear in this situation are secrecy, hypocrisy and silence in the face of injustice visited on an innocent man."