Canada settled a lawsuit with three citizens who were wrongly accused of terror links and tortured in Syria and Egypt for US$24.6 million, local media said on Thursday. Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Elmaati and Muayyed Nureddin had been arrested and tortured just after the 9/11 attacks.
Released in 2004 without charges, they returned to Canada, proclaimed their innocence and sued the government for Can$100 million over its role in their detention. A 2008 independent inquiry led by retired Supreme Court judge Frank Iacobucci concluded that Canada’s spy agency and federal police force had been “indirectly” responsible for the three men’s mistreatment.
Canada’s CBC news network last year obtained exclusive documents showing that Canadian officials had fed Syrian officials questions they asked the men who were detained and tortured.
Almost a decade after the independent inquiry, the government formally apologised to the trio in March “for any role Canadian officials may have played in relation to their detention and mistreatment abroad and any resulting harm”. But officials did not divulge the amount of a settlement reached at the time.
On Thursday, Scott Bardsley, spokesman for public safety minister Ralph Goodale, said: ” A settlement with these three gentlemen who were seeking compensation was announced earlier this year”. “However, I can’t confirm the amount paid,” he told AFP. The amount of the settlement was first reported by Montreal’s Le Devoir newspaper. It was listed in a government public accounts document released earlier this month under “settlement of a claim for general damages” launched by three unnamed individuals.