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Obama refuses to reverse US ban on Arar

CBC reports that, “The Obama administration is refusing to end the U.S. ban on Maher Arar, dashing the hopes of those looking for a policy shift. The Syrian-Canadian computer engineer remains on a U.S. terrorism watch list, despite having been exonerated and winning a multimillion-dollar settlement from the Canadian government. American officials said their policy on Arar — who was extradited by the U.S. and tortured in a Syrian prison — hasn’t changed with the arrival of Barack Obama as president. ‘Mr. Arar is not welcome in the United States,’ Terry Breese, a senior U.S. diplomat, told Canadian reporters Thursday in Ottawa.”

The Canwest News Service adds that, “Breese refused to discuss why Arar remains banned in the U.S., saying the evidence was classified.”

Canwest reports, “‘Our former public safety minister, Stockwell Day, flew down to the United States, saw the American file on Mr. Arar, came back to Canada and said publicly there was nothing there that he could see that would justify Mr. Arar being on a U.S. no-fly list or any no-fly list,’ said Kerry Pither, a human rights activist and author of a book on Maher Arar and three other Canadians detained and tortured overseas. Human rights lawyer Lorne Waldman agreed, the U.S. ‘has absolutely no basis for any of these allegations.'”

The CBC report can be read at http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/04/16/arar-us-ban016.html

The Canwest article is at http://www.canada.com/Maher+Arar+remains+persona+grata/1505476/story.html