Canada And Torture: Former Maher Arar Lawyer Decries Tory Directives To Security Agencies

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A lawyer who once represented Maher Arar is blasting the government for their decision to allow the use of info gathered through torture. (AP) | AP

OTTAWA - A lawyer who represented torture victim Maher Arar says information-sharing directives issued to federal security agencies show the government hasn't learned anything about shunning brutality.

Toronto lawyer Lorne Waldman says ministerial instructions to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency leave the door open to the kind of information exchanges that led to Arar's torture in Syria.

Waldman says Canada is no further ahead than it was before a federal inquiry into Arar's case.

Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian, was detained at a New York airport in September 2002, winding up in a grim Damascus prison.

Under torture, the Ottawa telecommunications engineer gave false confessions to Syrian military intelligence officers about involvement with al-Qaida.

Justice Dennis O'Connor, who led the federal inquiry, concluded in 2006 that faulty information the RCMP passed to the United States very likely led to Arar's year-long nightmare.

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