November 05, 2003
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Man says CIA sent him to Syria for torture

WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- A Canadian says the CIA detained him last year in New York as a suspected terrorist and then sent him to Syria, where he was tortured for 10 months.

Maher Arar, who was released last month, told a Wednesday news conference in Ottawa the incident occurred in September 2002 as he was flying home to Montreal via New York from a family visit to Tunisia.

He said he pleaded with U.S. authorities to let him return to his family in Canada, where he has lived for 15 years.

Instead, he was flown under guard to Jordan and then handed over to Syria, where he was born. Arar denied any connection with terrorism and says he will fight to clear his name.

U.S. officials maintain Arar was deported because he had been put on a terrorist watch list after information from "multiple international intelligence agencies" linked him with terrorist groups.

Unidentified officials told the Washington Post the case apparently occurred under a secret presidential "finding" that allows the CIA to send suspects to other nations without due process to allow those countries to obtain information by torture.

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