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Sunday, January 23, 2005

Department of Justice Strikes Again

Maher Arar is a Canadian software engineer who was detained by US officials in 2002 for alleged ties to Al Quaeda while at JFK Airport in transit from an overseas vacation. Twelve days later, he was chained and shackled and flown to Syria (a country known for human rights abuse) where he was beaten, tortured and forced to make false confessions.

Now he is seeking his release, and the US government is claiming that his suit should be dismissed because it would "jeopardize national security," invoking the rarely used "state secrets privilege." Last summer, the Supreme Court said that people such as Mr. Arar do have civil rights, and the Administration has repeatedly ignored that ruling and others as it continues to run roughshod over the Bill of Rights.

This issue is a huge matter to our Canadian neighbors, and Time Magazine Canada named Mr. Arad "newsmaker of the year," claiming that Arar is not a terrorist but an ordinary citizen, and praising him as a vocal proponent of human rights.

You can read more from catnip's excellent diary on DailyKos. I urge everyone to email their Senator and protest this, 'cos if you're an American this stuff is being done with YOUR tax dollars and in YOUR name, and if you're not taking action against it you are complicit in it, IMHO. And while you're writing your letter, throw in a good swift kick against the Gonzales nomination, okay?