Supreme Court Denies Maher Arar His Day in Court: Demand Action from Obama and Congress

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On June 14, the United States Supreme Court rejected CCR’s case on behalf of Canadian citizen and extraordinary rendition survivor Maher Arar against U.S. officials for their role in sending him to Syria to be tortured and detained in an underground, grave-like cell for a year.  This latest decision signals the end to Maher’s legal case to obtain justice in U.S. courts. Now it is up to the White House and Congress: demand action now.


With this latest decision, CCR has exhausted the legal process. While we are deeply disappointed that the courts have been unwilling to recognize Maher’s right to have his story heard by an American jury we will continue to pursue every available avenue towards an apology and remedies. This case has become a national embarrassment.  The U.S. refuses to acknowledge or apologize for the crimes and human rights abuses they committed when they sent Maher to Syria to be tortured.  Maher remains on a U.S. Watch List, despite an exhaustive investigation by the Canadian Commission of Inquiry that found "categorically that there is no evidence to indicate that Mr. Arar has committed any offence or that his activities constitute a threat to the security of Canada."

As CCR cooperating attorney and Vice-President David Cole says, “The courts have regrettably refused to right the egregious wrong done to Maher Arar. But the courts have never questioned that a wrong was done. They have simply said that it is up to the political branches to fashion a remedy.  We are deeply disappointed that the courts have shirked their responsibility. But this decision only underscores the moral responsibility of those to whom the courts deferred – President Obama and Congress – to do the right thing and redress Arar's injuries."  

The Obama Administration and Congress can and must:

•    Acknowledge the wrong done to Maher Arar in a public apology;
•    Remove Maher Arar from the Watch List;
•    Appoint outside special counsel to investigate and prosecute crimes relating to Maher Arar’s rendition;
•    Remedy the harm done to Maher Arar; and
•    Ensure that the U.S. does not send anyone to torture or arbitrary detention again.

As Maher said upon hearing the petition was denied, “My case and other cases brought by human beings who were tortured have been thrown out by U.S. courts based on dubious government claims. Unless the American people stand up for justice they will soon see their hard-won civil liberties taken away from them as well.”

Write a letter to President Obama and your Congressional representatives now.

CCR will continue to stand by Maher Arar and, despite the courts refusal to act, we will not stop seeking justice for him in the United States. Write to both Obama and your representatives in Congress and demand immediate action.  The ball is now in their court.

Thank you to everyone who has stood by Maher and CCR since we first filed this case in 2004.  The fight is not over and your support will continue to be critical.

For more information, click here to see the case page.