SCOTUS to Arar: the USA Can Send You to Be Tortured

Maher Arar is reunited with his family after being released from Syria where he was held for almost a year without charge.

Maher Arar is a 34-year-old engineer and Canadian citizen born in Syria. According to Arar, in 2002, while he was in transit in New York City’s JFK Airport, after coming back from a vacation with his family, he was interrogated and detained by U.S. Officials alleging presumed links to al-Qaeda. Days later, he was secretly rendered to Syria, where he was held for almost one year under no formal charges, constant torture –including severe beating and the constant threat to be tortured harder— and was forced to falsely confess his links to the organization.

Most of the time he was held on a three feet wide, six feet deep and seven feet high cell, with no windows and with rats and cats everywhere.  After his release to Canada, the Government created a Commission of Inquiry that cleared Arar from all terrorist allegations and entitled him to compensation.

In 2004, in order to determine the responsibility of the U.S. Officials involved in his rendition to torture, Maher Arar filed a suit in the District Court for the Eastern District of New York against former Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, as well as numerous Immigration Officials. However, the District Court of Brooklyn dismissed the suit, based on national security grounds. It held that the reasons why Arar was considered a member of al-Qaeda and transferred to Syria, were state secrets and that their disclosure would reveal intelligence methods, affecting national security and U.S. foreign relations.

In 2006, he appealed the decision before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the dismissal, and for those reasons, in 2010, he petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review his case.

On June 14, 2010, the Supreme Court rejected his writ of certiorari, eliminating Maher Arar’s last hope to find an answer in the U.S. judicial system for the “egregious wrong done” to him, as one of his lawyers said.

However, several doors may still be open for Arar. He may be able to pursue a claim under international tribunals, taking into account that the U.S. has ratified the International Convention against Torture, which imposes states the obligation to avoid rendering detainees to nations that practice torture against prisoners. In addition, President Obama and Congress could step up and ensure that Arar’s case is fully investigated, that those responsible for his treatment are prosecuted, and that he receives an apology and redress from the U.S. government for what was done to him.

The fact that it seems very unlikely for the President and Congress to take those steps underscores the vast difference between how the U.S. and Canada have handled the case. Not only has Canada apologized and compensated Arar, but also, according to thestar.com, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police probe may bring charges to the U.S and Syrian Officials involved.

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14 thoughts on “SCOTUS to Arar: the USA Can Send You to Be Tortured

  1. If that corporatised court gave any "grounds", you can be sure it's the one that leaves the corporate state free to continue its globewide campaigns of illegalities with full impunity.

  2. United States have a law to protect them self in case they commited any type of crime or violated human rights, any federal worker of any agency can't be suit, FBI, CIA and Home Land security INS officer etc is protected by this law.- So they can basically : beat you,. torture you, and even kill you and nothing will happen to them unless your country trough UN or Amnisty International take very demanding steps to help you. This is the way U.S. government works. But oh yeah you do or say anything they may want to take as a treat you can wind up just like the guy in this case.

  3. If that corporatised court gave any “grounds”, you can be sure it’s the one that leaves the corporate state free to continue its globewide campaigns of illegalities with full impunity.

  4. United States have a law to protect them self in case they commited any type of crime or violated human rights, any federal worker of any agency can’t be suit, FBI, CIA and Home Land security INS officer etc is protected by this law.- So they can basically : beat you,. torture you, and even kill you and nothing will happen to them unless your country trough UN or Amnisty International take very demanding steps to help you. This is the way U.S. government works. But oh yeah you do or say anything they may want to take as a treat you can wind up just like the guy in this case.

  5. No.

    You don't have to do or say anything .

    LIKE the man in this case.

    You just have to LOOK "special" .

    Or sport the wrong haircut.

    Or keep from shaving.

    Or own a certain sounding name.

    Or just the wrong national passport.

    Or exotic pigmentation.

    They'll get you for any, some, or all of the above.

    Like in arizona.

  6. I have repeatedly in the past corrected your Amnesty blogs on an important point of fact with regards to Maher Arar and yet you still keep reporting the same false information over and over.

    This completely innocent person was secretly rendered not to Syria as you have repeatedly falsely claimed, but to Jordan. It is the Jordanians who then rendered him to Syria for torture.

    source: Maher Arar's own personal web site http://www.maherarar.ca/mahers%20story.php

    "October 8, 2002

    Arar overhears the men talking on the phone saying that Syria is refusing to take him directly, but Jordan will take him.

    They fly to Portland, to Rome, and then to Amman, Jordan.

    On the trip to Amman Arar is given a sweater and jeans to wear. He does not know then that he will wear these clothes until the end of December.

    October 9, 2002

    The jet lands in Amman, Jordan at 3:00 a.m. There are six or seven Jordanians waiting for him. Arar is blindfolded and chained and put into a van. He is forced to bend his head down in the back seat. He is beaten intensely every time he tries to move or talk.

    Thirty minutes later they arrive at a building where they remove his blindfold and ask him routine questions, before taking him to a cell.

    In the afternoon they take his fingerprints and photographs and he is blindfolded and put in another van. He is told he is going back to Montreal.

    About forty-five minutes later, they stop and he is put in a different car. He is forced to keep his head down, and he is beaten again.

    Over an hour later they arrive at what Arar believes was the Syrian border. He is handed over to a new team of men, and put in a new car which travels for another three hours to Damascus. "

  7. I have repeatedly in the past corrected your Amnesty blogs on an important point of fact with regards to Maher Arar and yet you still keep reporting the same false information over and over.

    This completely innocent person was secretly rendered not to Syria as you have repeatedly falsely claimed, but to Jordan. It is the Jordanians who then rendered him to Syria for torture.

    source: Maher Arar's own personal web site http://www.maherarar.ca/mahers%20story.php

    "October 8, 2002

    Arar overhears the men talking on the phone saying that Syria is refusing to take him directly, but Jordan will take him.

    They fly to Portland, to Rome, and then to Amman, Jordan.

    On the trip to Amman Arar is given a sweater and jeans to wear. He does not know then that he will wear these clothes until the end of December.

    October 9, 2002

    The jet lands in Amman, Jordan at 3:00 a.m. There are six or seven Jordanians waiting for him. Arar is blindfolded and chained and put into a van. He is forced to bend his head down in the back seat. He is beaten intensely every time he tries to move or talk.

    Thirty minutes later they arrive at a building where they remove his blindfold and ask him routine questions, before taking him to a cell.

    In the afternoon they take his fingerprints and photographs and he is blindfolded and put in another van. He is told he is going back to Montreal.

    About forty-five minutes later, they stop and he is put in a different car. He is forced to keep his head down, and he is beaten again.

    Over an hour later they arrive at what Arar believes was the Syrian border. He is handed over to a new team of men, and put in a new car which travels for another three hours to Damascus. "

  8. I have repeatedly in the past corrected your Amnesty blogs on an important point of fact with regards to Maher Arar and yet you still keep reporting the same false information over and over.

    This completely innocent person was secretly rendered not to Syria as you have repeatedly falsely claimed, but to Jordan. It is the Jordanians who then rendered him to Syria for torture.

    source: Maher Arar's own personal web site http://www.maherarar.ca/mahers%20story.php

    "October 8, 2002

    Arar overhears the men talking on the phone saying that Syria is refusing to take him directly, but Jordan will take him.

    They fly to Portland, to Rome, and then to Amman, Jordan.

    On the trip to Amman Arar is given a sweater and jeans to wear. He does not know then that he will wear these clothes until the end of December.

    October 9, 2002

    The jet lands in Amman, Jordan at 3:00 a.m. There are six or seven Jordanians waiting for him. Arar is blindfolded and chained and put into a van. He is forced to bend his head down in the back seat. He is beaten intensely every time he tries to move or talk.

    Thirty minutes later they arrive at a building where they remove his blindfold and ask him routine questions, before taking him to a cell.

    In the afternoon they take his fingerprints and photographs and he is blindfolded and put in another van. He is told he is going back to Montreal.

    About forty-five minutes later, they stop and he is put in a different car. He is forced to keep his head down, and he is beaten again.

    Over an hour later they arrive at what Arar believes was the Syrian border. He is handed over to a new team of men, and put in a new car which travels for another three hours to Damascus. "

  9. No.

    You don’t have to do or say anything .

    LIKE the man in this case.

    You just have to LOOK “special” .

    Or sport the wrong haircut.

    Or keep from shaving.

    Or own a certain sounding name.

    Or just the wrong national passport.

    Or exotic pigmentation.

    They’ll get you for any, some, or all of the above.

    Like in arizona.

  10. I have repeatedly in the past corrected your Amnesty blogs on an important point of fact with regards to Maher Arar and yet you still keep reporting the same false information over and over.

    This completely innocent person was secretly rendered not to Syria as you have repeatedly falsely claimed, but to Jordan. It is the Jordanians who then rendered him to Syria for torture.

    source: Maher Arar’s own personal web site
    http://www.maherarar.ca/mahers%20story.php

    “October 8, 2002

    Arar overhears the men talking on the phone saying that Syria is refusing to take him directly, but Jordan will take him.

    They fly to Portland, to Rome, and then to Amman, Jordan.

    On the trip to Amman Arar is given a sweater and jeans to wear. He does not know then that he will wear these clothes until the end of December.

    October 9, 2002

    The jet lands in Amman, Jordan at 3:00 a.m. There are six or seven Jordanians waiting for him. Arar is blindfolded and chained and put into a van. He is forced to bend his head down in the back seat. He is beaten intensely every time he tries to move or talk.

    Thirty minutes later they arrive at a building where they remove his blindfold and ask him routine questions, before taking him to a cell.

    In the afternoon they take his fingerprints and photographs and he is blindfolded and put in another van. He is told he is going back to Montreal.

    About forty-five minutes later, they stop and he is put in a different car. He is forced to keep his head down, and he is beaten again.

    Over an hour later they arrive at what Arar believes was the Syrian border. He is handed over to a new team of men, and put in a new car which travels for another three hours to Damascus. “

  11. The post says "Days later, he was secretly rendered to Syria," which is factually correct. He was rendered to Jordan first and then to Syria. It's not like Amnesty is trying to hide that he went through Jordan. It's that Syria is where the majority of his ill-treatment occured.

  12. The post says “Days later, he was secretly rendered to Syria,” which is factually correct. He was rendered to Jordan first and then to Syria. It’s not like Amnesty is trying to hide that he went through Jordan. It’s that Syria is where the majority of his ill-treatment occured.