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A former Guantánamo prisoner has filed a lawsuit against Canada

Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Mauritanian who lived in Montreal for two months, is demanding $ 35 million from the federal government. He claims that false information provided by Canadian authorities led to his detention in a US military prison, where he was allegedly beaten, sexually assaulted and deprived of his sleep.

Mr. Slahi said his version in a book that became a bestseller. Named Guilty was even adapted from his memoirs.

In their motion, they claim that surveillance reports were provided by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to US investigators. The torture he underwent broke him and led to a false confession of conspiracy to blow up the Canadian National CN Tower in Toronto. A building he had never heard of before.

“Canadians need to understand that this is a Canadian story. Without Canada, I would never have been kidnapped. Without Canada, I would never be tortured. »

– Quote by Mohamedou Ould Slahi

Jody Brown, one of two lawyers representing Mr. Slahi, described his client’s saga as the result of a vicious circle of flawed intelligence and interrogation techniques – torture or degrading treatment of George W. Bush detainees.

Complicit in torture

You provide information that leads to someone being detained. And even if you are not the party that holds them – you are not the one who tortures them – if you receive this information about torture and act on it, you will justify it, Brown said in a telephone interview and called on the Canadian government an accomplice to torture.

Now a writer with a Dutch theater company, Mr. Slahi left Canada in 2000 after authorities began questioning him about his ties to Ahmed Ressam, a man arrested for planning attacks on Los Angeles Airport. Both men visited the same mosque in Montreal.

In 2009, a federal court ruled that Mr. Slahi, who had a permanent residence in Canada, did not have access to intelligence documents because he was not a citizen of the country.

The Canadian Attorney General has not yet responded to allegations against the Canadian Security Intelligence Service CSIS and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) declined to comment on any court case or to confirm or refute the details of any investigation or any intelligence shared with foreign states in order to maintain the integrity of our operations. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police of the RCMP did not respond immediately to questions on Saturday.

Following Mr Slahi during his brief stay in Montreal led him to return to West Africa, which sparked a series of two decades of arrests, interrogations and imprisonment. Upon arrival in Senegal, he was arrested and interrogated by US officials on the same charges as the Canadian authorities.

After September 11, 2001, Mr. Slahi was arrested again in Mauritania at the request of the United States. He was abducted and transported against his will by a CIA-based CIA to Jordan, where he was interrogated and tortured for eight months before reaching Bagram Airport in Afghanistan and then Guantánamo, as we read in his story.

He was not released until 2016, remained in Mauritania with reduced mobility and could not leave the country until 2020, according to a court document.

At Guantánamo, the information that served as the basis for Mr Slahi’s interrogations was nonsense, Mr Brown said in an interview.

For example, documents say Mr Slahi’s investigators insisted on a phone call in Montreal inviting someone for tea and asking them to bring some sugar.

His investigators insisted that the “sugar” requirement was a code for “explosives,” the former prisoner said in his account.

Mustafa Farooq, president of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, said Canada’s involvement in Mr. Slahi’s abuse was rooted in Islamophobic stereotypes. According to him, the country must bear responsibility.

“The fact is that Mr. Mohamedou (Slahi) was in danger partly because he was praying in a mosque where he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and under state supervision. »

– Quote by Mustafa Farooq, President of the National Council of Canadian Muslims

One of the reasons it’s so terrible is that the Canadian government and the Canadian National Security Service have been involved in torturing a man who did nothing wrong that we knew about and tried to make sure that Canadians never found out. , he added.

Comparison with Maher Arar and Omar Khadr

Mr Farooq has drawn a comparison with the case of Maher Arar, a Syrian-Canada detainee in New York in September 2002 and sent overseas by US authorities.

When Mr. Arar found himself in a dungeon-like prison in Damascus, he made a false confession about his involvement in al-Qaeda. In 2007, he agreed to settle $ 10.5 million and accepted an apology from then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper for whatever role Canadian officials played in the case.

The case of Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen who was detained at Guantánamo for 10 years at the age of 15 for the military assassination of a US military sergeant in Afghanistan, also resulted in a $ 10.5 million settlement with the federal government. in 2018.

Mr Slahi said he wanted to make sure what happened to him would not happen to anyone else.

I want Canada to support human rights and democracy. I want a better future for my son, my nephews and nieces, he stressed. Responsibility cannot arise without the truth.

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