Editor’s Note: While this news may not seem overtly “political,” it is an important first in Canada. Torture a Canadian, says the RCMP, and consequences must follow.
RCMP have laid a charge in absentia against a Syrian intelligence officer accused of torturing Syrian-born Canadian Maher Arar, the first-ever charge of its kind in Canada.
Arar’s lawyer, Paul Champ, said in Ottawa today that RCMP will attempt to extradite Col. George Salloum to Canada to face charges, which RCMP later confirmed.
“The RCMP will continue to work with its domestic and international law enforcement and security partners in locating Salloum in order to begin the extradition process to bring him to Canada where he will face justice,” a statement said.
Arar was tortured in a Syrian jail after being sent there by U.S. officials in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
His wife Monia Mazigh read a statement on his behalf today, commending the RCMP for laying the charges.
“It is my hope that Col. George Salloum will be found alive, arrested and will be extradited to Canada to face Canadian justice,” Arar said.
“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.”
Champ described the charge as “groundbreaking and historic,” adding that “it is critical for a family who have long struggled for justice.”
See also: “RCMP to charge Syrian colonel in Maher Arar torture” (The Toronto Star)