After the U.S. Congress apologized last week to Maher Arar for deporting him to Syria, finally a representative of the White House has come forward to admit that there were imperfections in dealing with the Syrian-born Canadian. Still, the Secretary of State refused to outright say they believe Mr.Arar was tortured.
“We do not think this case was handled as it should have been,” Ms. Rice told a subcommittee of the House foreign relations committee.
“Our communication with the Canadian government about this was by no means perfect. In fact, it was quite imperfect” she said.
“You’re aware of the fact that he was tortured?” Bill Delahunt, a Massachusetts Democrat and chairman of the foreign affairs subcommittee, asked Ms. Rice, referring to Judge O’Connor’s report.
“I am aware of claims that were made,” Ms. Rice responded.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has already publicly apologized to Mr.Arar and he is being offered a $10-million payment from Canadian taxpayers for being wrongly accused of having al-Qaeda links. But the United States maintains he is barred from entry into the country because he is still listed as a terror suspect. Condoleeza Rice says that travel ban will not be lifted.
“We and the Canadians do not have exactly the same understanding of what is possible in the future for Mr. Arar in terms of travel and the like,” she said.
Well, at least that much is clear.