Maher Arar (born 1970) was a Syrian living in Canada with dual Canadian-Syrian citizenship and a telecommunications engineer who was deported to Syria and tortured, in an alleged example of the United States policy of rendition.
He was detained during a layover at John F. Kennedy International Airport in September 2002 on his way home to Canada from a family vacation in Tunis. He was held in solitary confinement in the U.S. for nearly two weeks, questioned, and denied meaningful access to a lawyer. The U.S. Government suspected him of being a member of Al Qaeda and deported him, not to Canada, his current home, but to his native Syria, even though the nation is known to use torture on suspects. He was detained in Syria for almost a year, during which time he was, according to the findings of the Arar Commission, regularly tortured, until his release to Canada.
The Canadian government has publicly cleared Arar of any links to terrorism, and gave him a $10.5 million Canadian dollar settlement. The Syrian government reports it knows of no links of Arar to terrorism. The United States government, however, refuses to clear Arar's name and continues to have both him and his family on a watchlist.
His U.S. attorneys at the Center for Constitutional Rights are currently pursuing his case, Arar v. Ashcroft, which seeks compensatory damages on Arar's behalf and also a declaration that the actions of the U.S. government were illegal and violated his constitutional, civil, and international human rights. (7 minutes)