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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 October 2006, 06:12 GMT 07:12 UK
Canada in protest over rendition
By Lee Carter
BBC News, Toronto

Maher Arar
Mr Arar says he was tortured in Syria
Canada is to make a formal protest to the United States over the case of a Canadian man deported to Syria in 2002 over suspected al-Qaeda links.

Maher Arar claims that he was tortured in Damascus after being detained by US officials while changing planes in the US on a flight from Tunisia to Ottawa.

A Canadian government inquiry cleared him of any involvement in terrorism.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the US should "come clean" about its "inappropriate conduct".

Mr Arar was detained and questioned by US customs agents while changing planes on his way back from a holiday in Tunisia in New York's JFK airport in September 2002.

He was subsequently deported to Syria. A Canadian government inquiry supported his claims to have been tortured during his eight months of imprisonment in the country.

The inquiry also took Canada's own police force to task over the incident.

A letter of protest is now being delivered by Canada's foreign minister to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Mr Harper said he had also told the US President George W Bush about Canada's protest by telephone.

Mr Harper said that he had wanted US officials to deal honestly with Canada in the future and prevent incidents like this from happening again.

"What I would like to see is obviously the United States government come clean with its version of events to acknowledge the deficiencies and the inappropriate conduct that occurred in this case," he said.

Mr Harper said that he had received assurances from Mr Bush that the matter would be looked into seriously.

A White House spokesperson said that the phone call was welcomed by the president, but had little else to say about Canada's protest.

Canada 'sorry' over deportation
29 Sep 06 |  Americas
Country profile: Syria
15 Sep 03 |  Country profiles

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