Tor­ture vic­tims re­ceive $31M

Week­end, October 27-29, 2017 Three Mus­lim­Cana­di­ans jailed based on false in­for­ma­tion World

Metro Canada (Calgary) - - YOUR ESSENTIAL DAILY NEWS - AdriAN Wyld/ThE CANA­diAN PrESS TOrsTAr NeWs ser­Vice The As­sO­ci­ATed Press

Three Mus­lim Cana­dian men, de­tained and tor­tured in the Mid­dle East dur­ing the se­cu­rity fer­vor that fol­lowed 9/11, will get $31.25 mil­lion from the fed­eral govern­ment. The pay­out was kept se­cret un­til this month and is part of a le­gal set­tle­ment that was first re­ported by Torstar in Fe­bru­ary and an­nounced by the Lib­eral govern­ment weeks later.

The res­o­lu­tion and ac­com­pa­ny­ing govern­ment apol­ogy put an end to a nine-year court bat­tle for com­pen­sa­tion that has been called for since 2008.

Be­tween 2001 and 2003, Ab­dul­lah Al­malki, Ah­mad El Maati and Muayyed Nured­din were sep­a­rately jailed in Syria and tor­tured by in­ter­roga­tors, who acted, in part, on in­for­ma­tion from the CSIS, Canada’s spy agency, and the RCMP. For­mer Supreme Court judge Frank Ia­cobucci con­cluded, in his 2008 re­port on their cases, that Cana­dian agents la­beled the men Is­lamic ex­trem­ists and shared in­for­ma­tion with other coun­tries with­out proper pre­cau­tions about its un­re­li­a­bil­ity. The men were never charged. They sued Ot­tawa for $100 mil­lion.

In March, the Lib­eral govern­ment an­nounced it had reached a set­tle­ment and Pub­lic Safety Min­is­ter Ralph Goodale apol­o­gized to Al­malki, El Maati and Nured­din for “any role Cana­dian of­fi­cials may have played” in what led to their ar­rests and tor­ture.

While the govern­ment still re­fused to say how much it would pay each of the men on Thurs­day, the $31.25-mil­lion set­tle­ment was re­vealed in govern­ment ac­count­ing doc­u­ments tabled in the House of Com­mons on Oct. 5 and qui­etly pub­lished on­line.

In an in­ter­view with Torstar, Al­malki said he’s ready to try and move on from a ter­ri­ble episode in his life.

“We were falsely tar­geted based on racism and big­otry,” said Al­malki, 46, who lives in Ot­tawa with his wife and kids.

Speak­ing in Burling­ton, Ont. Thurs­day, Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau called the pay­out “a dif­fi­cult les­son” for what hap­pens when Cana­dian gov­ern­ments “of any stripe” al­low a cit­i­zen’s rights to be vi­o­lated.

“When we don’t stand up for peo­ple’s rights, it ends up cost­ing all of us,” he said.

On Par­lia­ment Hill, Goodale claimed the govern­ment was trans­par­ent about the set­tle­ment cost by re­port­ing the pay­outs in the ac­count­ing doc­u­ments pub­lished this month. He said that’s what was promised when the set­tle­ment was an­nounced in March. Pub­lic health In ring­ing and per­sonal terms, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Thurs­day pledged that “we will over­come ad­dic­tion in Amer­ica,” declar­ing opi­oid abuse a na­tional pub­lic health emer­gency and an­nounc­ing new steps to com­bat what he de­scribed as the worst drug cri­sis in U.S. his­tory.

Trump’s dec­la­ra­tion, which will be ef­fec­tive for 90 days and can be re­newed, will al­low the govern­ment to re­di­rect re­sources, in­clud­ing to­ward ex­panded ac­cess to med­i­cal ser­vices in ru­ral ar­eas. But it won’t bring new dol­lars to fight a scourge that kills nearly 100 Amer­i­cans a day.

Deaths have surged from opi­oids, which in­clude some pre­scribed painkillers, heroin and syn­thetic drugs such as fen­tanyl, often sold on the na­tion’s streets.

Of­fi­cials said they also would urge Con­gress to add new cash to a pub­lic health emer­gency fund, which con­tains just $57,000.

Ab­dul­lah Al­malki, right to left, Muayyed Nured­din and Ah­mad El-Maati ar­rive at a news con­fer­ence in Ot­tawa on Oct. 21, 2008. Three Cana­di­ans who were tor­tured in Syria have re­ceived a to­tal of $31 mil­lion in fed­eral com­pen­sa­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.