Posted in Montreal
Check back to March 23rd’s “Canada complicit with torture? Really?”
Canadian citizens Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Elmaati and Muayyed Nureddin each filed $100-million lawsuits against the Canadian government ten years ago after they were tortured in a Syrian prison (and in the case of Elmaati, in Egypt also), claiming Canada was complicit in their treatment.
Turns out, it seems they were correct.
Lawyers for the three men fought and eventually won a lengthy legal battle with the RCMP and CSIS, gaining access to thousands of heavily redacted files, totaling hundreds of thousands of pages. CBC News obtained access to about 18,000 of those pages which will be used when the civil trials begin early in 2017.
Documented by CBC Investigates, and reported in mid-September on The National, and the fifth estate, “Thousands of pages of secret files obtained by CBC reveal how Canada’s police and intelligence service not only knew three Canadians were being tortured in Syrian jails in a post-Sept. 11 crackdown, but co-operated with Syrian officials in their interrogations. The files also show a Canadian ambassador helped deliver questions the RCMP and CSIS wanted put to the Canadians imprisoned in Syria, a country with a dismal human rights record.”
Two commissions of inquiry have already concluded that Almalki, Elmaati and Nureddin were wrongly targeted by CSIS and the RCMP.
As we recorded in March, unfortunately, our new “sunny days” Liberal government is taking up the fight against an apology and compensation. They’re even going further than the Harper government to protect CSIS sources, and the Toronto Star noted in the spring that the three men’s lawyers were “stunned” by the Trudeau government’s position.
It should be no surprise that our elected representatives may be repulsed by the evidence, but feel compelled all the same to cover the butts of the civil service bureaucrats who are responsible.
The probable and best outcome for Almalki, Elmaati and Nureddin says Ottawa realizes its vulnerability to adverse public opinion, faces certain defeat in court, and settles. That avoids years of litigation, but does nothing to repair the damage to Canada’s reputation, or prevent similar misadventures in the future. And, the three men don’t get the satisfaction of a public apology.
Hey, maybe they won’t settle. Bottom line: CSIS and the RCMP will cost us.