Canada apologizes, compensates deportation victim

The prime minister apologized to a Syrian-born Canadian and said he would be compensated C$10.5 million (US$8.9 million, or €6.86 million) for Ottawa's role in his deportation by US authorities to Damascus, where he was tortured and imprisoned for nearly a year. Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Friday again called on Washington to remove Maher Arar from its no-fly and terrorist watch lists. He reiterated that Canada would keep pressing the United States to clear Arar's name. "On behalf of the government of Canada, I want to extend a full apology to you and Monia as well as your family for the role played by Canadian officials in the terrible ordeal that you experienced in 2002 and 2003," Harper told reporters in Ottawa, referring to Arar's wife, Monia Mazigh, and their two children, who now live in British Columbia. "I sincerely hope that these words and actions will assist you and your family in your efforts to begin a new and hopeful chapter in your lives," Harper said, adding the compensation package would also pay Arar's estimated C$1 million (US$845,000; €780,000) in legal fees. Arar later thanked the Canadian government and his fellow citizens.