OTTAWA, Sept 19 (Reuters) – Canadian police wrongly identified an Ottawa software engineer as an Islamic extremist, prompting U.S. agents to deport him to Syria, where he was tortured, an official inquiry concluded on Monday.
Maher Arar, who holds Canadian and Syrian nationality, was arrested in New York in September 2002 and accused of being an al-Qaeda member. In fact, said the judge who led the probe, all the signs point to the fact Arar was innocent.
Arar, 36, says he was repeatedly tortured in the year he spent in Damascus jails, and the inquiry agreed that he had been tortured. He was freed in 2003.
Judge Dennis O’Connor, who was asked by the Canadian government in 2004 to examine what had happened, found the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had wrongly told U.S. authorities that Arar was an Islamic extremist.
I mean what is wrong here? The guy is male, muslim, Arab (well okay, technically Syrian, but Hezbollah is funded in part by Syria and they are undoubtedly terrorists), and is just a bit younger than Mohammed Atta. Looks like a slam-dunk in terms of profiling so lets just forget about him. Oh, and he has a beard as well.