Press release: The ICLMG welcomes the announcement that the RCMP is laying criminal charges against one of the Syrian torturers of Maher Arar

Ottawa  – The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) welcomes the announcement that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is laying criminal charges against one of the Syrian torturers of Canadian citizen Maher Arar.

“The ICLMG has supported the Maher Arar case since the beginning, when he was incarcerated and tortured in Syrian prisons,” said Roch Tassé, former National Coordinator of the ICLMG. “On many occasions we have asked the Canadian government to respect Arar’s rights and repatriate him to Canada.”

Today, the RCMP announced that formal criminal charges have been filed in Canada with the public prosecutor against Colonel George Salloum, from the Syrian military intelligence, one of those accused of involvement in the torture and mistreatment of Maher Arar during his detention in a Syrian prison in Damascus.

It is worth remembering that, in 2004, the ICLMG obtained “intervenor status” before the Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice O’Connor and has played an active role in the monitoring of the entire public process, and the coordination of strategic contributions to the group of stakeholders from civil society. “Today, we believe this announcement is a big step forward to bring those who commit torture to the justice system and for them to be held accountable for their horrific acts,” said Monia Mazigh, National Coordinator of the ICLMG.

“We would like to see this announcement as an opportunity for the Canadian government to apologize and compensate Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou El-Maati and Muayyed Nureddin, all tortured in Syrian prisons and whose abuse has been indirectly caused by the actions of Canadian agents, because of the sharing of incorrect information, as concluded by Justice Frank Iacobucci.”

Monia Mazigh, ICLMG’s National Coordinator, reads a statement from her husband Maher Arar after the RCMP lay criminal charges against one of his Syrian torturers. Watch the video:

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Read the statement here.