The Champion

March 2007 , Page 57 

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The Arar Inquiry: Canada Faces a Case of Torture

By Steven Skurka

Read more 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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