Amnesty International welcomes the news that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have laid criminal charges today against a Syrian official for the torture of Canadian citizen Maher Arar almost 13 years ago. It represents a tremendous advance in Mr. Arar’s longstanding quest for justice, truth and reparation for the grave human rights violations he experienced in 2002 and 2003. It also sets a ground-breaking precedent – nationally and internationally – in the critical campaign to end the impunity that has long shielded torturers around the world.
“Torture continues at such alarming rates worldwide because those responsible are rarely held to account for their heinous crimes,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English branch. “No matter where it occurs or who carries it out, all governments are obliged to ensure that those suspected of criminal responsibility for torture face justice. But few ever do. Canada is taking a historic step in meeting that responsibility by seeking the arrest of a foreign official accused of committing torture in another country.”