Maher Arar on RCMP laying charges on the man responsible for his torture

The following statement was read by Monia Mazigh, Maher Arar’s wife, as a press conference earlier today.

I welcome today’s announcement by the RCMP to lay criminal charges against Colonel George Salloum who was directly responsible for my torture while I was detained at the Palestinian Branch of the Syrian Military Intelligence.

Since I launched my complaint in 2005, I gave the RCMP investigating team, during the many interviews I had with them, the information they needed to advance their investigation. This lengthy international investigation took the officers overseas to gather evidence. As a result, they were able to better understand the nature of interrogations in Syrian detention centers. Upon their return, the investigators were able to pass on their knowledge to other RCMP staff. 

I believe this is vital for the RCMP to grasp given the increased urge to share information even with regimes who don’t respect our understanding of basic human rights.

It is important to emphasize that while this criminal charge is only with respect to my case, Colonel George Salloum, was directly involved in the torture of others including Canadian citizens.

This is by no means the end of the road. It is my hope that George Salloum will be found alive, arrested and extradited to Canada to face Canadian justice.

The laying of this charge comes at a critical point in our history. Canada has lost much of its credibility within the last decade when it comes to supporting important human rights causes. It is my hope that Canada gives high priority to eradicating torture and bringing those who commit it to justice.

Enhancing national security and protecting human rights can go hand in hand.

Lastly, I would like to quote former UN secretary General Kofi Anan who said: “Let us be clear:  torture can never be an instrument to fight terror, for torture is an instrument of terror”.

Thank you. Merci

Read more about today’s historic news: Breakthrough for justice in Maher Arar case: RCMP takes historic step in prevention of torture