Lawmakers apologize to tortured suspect

Oct. 19, 2007 at 4:50 PM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Some U.S. congressmen offered apologies to a man who was sent to Syria by the U.S. government and subsequently tortured.

The lawmakers apologized to Maher Arar, who was apprehended after Canada's Mounties informed the United States that he was suspected of terrorist activities, the Globe and Mail reported Friday.

"Let me personally give you what our government has not -- an apology," said Rep. Bill Delahunt, D-Mass., who was chairman at a joint hearing of the House Justice and Foreign Affairs committees.

A few Democratic lawmakers voiced similar sentiments and Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Calif., said "we should be ashamed" of what happened to Arar.

However, Rohrabacher spoke in defense of the practice of extraordinary rendition, which involves terrorism suspects being forcibly removed to other countries and extreme interrogation methods used against the suspects.

Arar appeared at the hearing via video link from Ottawa, Canada. He has been given an official apology from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and a $10 million compensation payment but is barred from entering the United States due to his status as a terrorism suspect.

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