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The Arar Inquiry: Canada Faces a Case of Torture
By Steven Skurka
Northern Lights columns.
“Let us be clear: torture can never be an instrument to fight terror, for torture is an instrument of terror.”
– Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations
Dec. 10, 2005
Prior to the events of 9/11, the use of torture as an evidence-gathering
tool was wholly contrary to the Canadian legal system and the
principles espoused by a constitutional democracy. Recent times,
however, have shown a startling acquiescence by the public, politicians,
and indeed some academics to the use of “reasonable” torture. Debates
have focused not on the absolute prohibition of torture, but rather just
how much torture is tolerable in certain circumstances. Any discussion
about basic human rights and civil liberties is quickly subsumed by
vocal concerns about public safety and security. They are the justified
collateral damage in the war against terrorism.
In Canada, the use of torture for “national security purposes” came to
light as a result of the detention and torture of
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