Vive Le Canada

U.S. slams Canada for complaining about Arar case
Date: Thursday, January 25 2007

U.S. slams Canada for complaining about Arar case

By David Ljunggren
Wednesday, January 24, 2007; 4:57 PM

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The United States told Canada on Wednesday to mind its own business after Ottawa said a Syrian-born Canadian citizen once suspected of terror links should be removed from a U.S. security watch list.

Ottawa says there is no evidence against software engineer Maher Arar, who was deported by U.S. agents to Syria in 2002. A Canadian investigation last year cleared Arar of any links to terror groups.

Canadian Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day said on Tuesday that Arar should be able to travel where he wanted and promised to keep pressing Washington on the case.

His comments prompted a sharp response from David Wilkins, the U.S. ambassador to Canada.

"It's a little presumptuous for him (Day) to say who the United States can and cannot allow into our country," Wilkins told a news conference in the western city of Edmonton.

"Canadian officials would rightly never tolerate any American official dictating to them who they may or may not allow into their country. So we would simply say we respect Canadian officials and their decisions ... We would ask them to show us the same respect."

U.S. officials say Arar will remain on their watch list because of unspecified information possessed by law enforcement agencies.

A spokeswoman for Day said the minister would not change his stance.


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