A man who spent 14 years incarcerated at Guantánamo Bay is suing the Canadian government for $35 million for its alleged role in the series of events that led to his detention, during which he was tortured.

A statement of claim, filed on behalf of Mohamedou Ould Slahi in Canada’s Federal Court on Friday, argues that Canadian authorities took actions that “caused, contributed to and prolonged [his] detention, torture, assault and sexual assault at Guantanamo Bay”.

Slahi, a Mauritanian national, lived in Montreal from November 1999 to January 2000, during which time he was investigated by the security services. Slahi, 51, accuses Canadian authorities of harassing him during their investigation of him, and his stress forced him to return to Mauritania.

The core of Slahi’s claim is that Canadian authorities shared false information about his activities and otherwise contributed to the events that eventually led to his arrest, after which he was transported first to Jordan and Afghanistan, and then to the Bay. from Guantanamo, where he spent 14 years imprisoned without charge.

“Canada’s faulty intelligence sharing caused a vicious echo chamber,” the claim statement says. The lawsuit was first reported by the Toronto Star on Saturday.

‘Enhanced interrogation techniques’ used

Canada’s Attorney General, who represents the government, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday.

During his detention, Slahi wrote several books, including a memoir that served as the basis for the 2021 film. the Mauritanian. Slahi is now a writer-in-residence at a Dutch theater.

At the time of Slahi’s arrest in 2002, authorities suspected he had ties to terrorism, in part because he prayed in the same Montreal mosque as attempted “Millennium Terrorist” Ahmed Ressam. Slahi said that he too had twice traveled to Afghanistan to fight the Soviet-backed Afghan government in the early 1990s.

Trending on Canadian News  Kim veut «reinforcer» l'armement nucléaire de la Corée du Nord

US interrogators, who suspected Slahi of al-Qaeda, used “enhanced interrogation techniques” now considered torture.

“Eventually, the torture brought him down. Slahi began to confess the lies put to him by his interrogators,” the statement of claim says. One of the false confessions concerned a plot to blow up the CN Tower in Toronto, which Slahi said he had never heard of.

There have been several high-profile cases of compensation paid to people who were subjected to detention or torture, contributed to by the actions of the Canadian authorities. Maher Arar, for example, received $10.5 million in 2007 after his arrest in Syria, and the government settled a lawsuit by Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr for the same amount in 2017.

Mustafa Farooq, head of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, said Canada’s alleged complicity in the events surrounding the torture of a Canadian resident stems from Islamophobic stereotypes and that accountability is needed.

“The reality is that Mr. Mohamedou was in danger in part because he was praying in a mosque, where he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and was under surveillance by the Canadian state,” Farooq said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

“Part of the reason it’s so horrible is that the Canadian government and Canadian national security administrations participated in the torture of a man who had done nothing wrong, who [they] I knew it, and that [they] I tried to make sure the Canadians never found out.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.