Security officials should be held accountable

The Ottawa Citizen has an article (mirrored here) about the "culture of impunity" within Canada's security officials.

This comes in the wake of the report of the inquiry by retired Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci into the torture of three Syrian-Canadian men in Syria (Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El-Maati and Muayyed Nureddin), based on faulty intelligence linking them allegedly to terrorism. The Iacobucci hearings was done in secret.

A previous case, Maher Arar, was cleared from any such links. He got an apology and compensation from the government.

Kerry Pither, a human rights activist and author of Dark Days: The Story of Four Canadians Tortured in the Name of Fighting Terror, said no Canadian official had been charged, disciplined or demoted for misconduct in the cases.

Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada, called yesterday for an independent body to determine whether criminal charges or disciplinary measures should be levelled against key officials.

But the main point is: whoever made the mistake in Arar's case has not been identified, nor face the consequences of his/her actions. There is even evidence of security agencies leaking information to the media during Maher Arar's inquiry, as well as Adil Charkaoui's hearings.

Now, Iacobucci concluded that the mistakes were not done intentionally nor maliciously. But the fact remains that these men lost years from their lives and had to enduce severe physical and mental hardship because of the mistakes security agencies have committed.

Yes, I agree that security officials, like any other employee in any other organization, should face the consequences of their mistakes and be repremanded or go on trial for them.

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Another case is Abousofian

Another case is Abousofian Abdelrazik who is a Canadian citizen of Sudanese descent. He went to Sudan to see his dying mother, and was jailed and tortured by the Sudanese authorities. The Canadian government refused to help and is said to pressure him and his family for information. The government also refused to issue him a passport to return to his family in Canada, until a court ruled that the government must issue him one so they can here his case in Canada.