No wonder they wanted the inquiry kept secret

The Iacobucci Inquiry’s report is very good news for Ahmad El Maati, Abdullah Almalki, and Muayyed Nureddin, and very bad news for the government, CSIS and the RCMP. It details how Canadian agencies’ allegations against the men were were “inaccurate,” “inflammatory,” and “without investigative foundation,” and the many ways in which these agencies were complicit in their torture.

While former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci uses the term “indirect” to describe Canadian officials’ responsibility for detention and torture in his report, he explains that by indirect, he means that he cannot rule out the possibility that someone else was involved. So Canadian officials were “indirectly” responsible for the men’s torture in Syria (ie., by supplying questions) they weren’t actually wielding the whips and cables used to torture them. To say they were “directly” complicit, or responsible, he says, he would have had to rule out any possibility that anyone else was involved.

The government did its best to minimize the damage yesterday, waiting until late Monday night to tell journalists, and the men and their counsel, when the report would be released, and giving everyone one hour to read it before responding. Then Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day toured every media studio in town, trying to revive allegations against the men by pointing to claims made by the Attorney General in closing submissions to the Inquiry. He neglected to mention that Justice Iacobucci did not accept those arguments.

Read the report, not the submissions, Minister Day, then issue a formal apology to these men.

More to come soon.

One thought on “No wonder they wanted the inquiry kept secret

  1. Ms. Pither,

    Having met Abdullah Almaki in Windsor recently, where we both participated in a panel discussion regarding wrongful convictions, I immediately became interested in learning more about his plight. I was a twenty-four year old recent graduate from the University of Toronto in 1990 when my girlfriend went missing and I spent eighteen years struggling to clear my name before the Crown conceded this past April that they had no case. Along the way, I was fortunate enough to meet a man named Derek Finkle, who wrote a book about my case.

    Having become focused on my own travails, I was astonished to learn about Abdullah’s experiences in Syria and the horrors he experienced along with several others; all with Canadian officials bearing much of the responsibility. If I had any respect left for this country, it is fading fast.

    I spied your book in a Toronto public library three days ago and began reading it immediately and I wish to commend you on your efforts. All too often the media simply regurgitate what our officials feed us without subjecting it to critical inquiry; it is refreshing to know that yourself and others like you believe in justice are willing to ask the tough questions. As someone who also had to endure a prolonged and sophisticated attempt by police to destroy my reputation, I’m sure Abdullah is grateful that you have done your part in restoring his.

    Best wishes,

    Rob Baltovich

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