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CCR Supports Congressional Call for Special Counsel in Maher Arar Rendition Case

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CONTACT:
Ateqah Khaki or David Lerner, Riptide Communications, 212-260-5000
Maria LaHood, Center for Constitutional Rights, 212-614-6430

July 10, 2008, New York, NY – Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement in response to a letter sent from members of Congress requesting Attorney General Michael Mukasey to criminally investigate federal officials involved in the rendition of Canadian Citizen Maher Arar.

We are pleased that members of Congress have asked Attorney General Mukasey to appoint an outside special counsel to investigate and prosecute any crimes committed by United States officials in sending Maher to Syria. A criminal prosecution would hopefully lead to the answers and accountability that Maher has long been seeking. Prosecution is even more critical in light of the Second Circuit Court of Appeal’s recent refusal to allow Maher’s civil case to proceed. That 2-1 decision adopted the Defendants’ position and treated Maher’s rendition to torture as a mere immigration matter. Members of Congress who have held hearings on Maher’s rendition, including receiving testimony from the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General, have rightly determined that criminal investigation is warranted. Justice requires that those who are responsible for sending Maher to Syria to be tortured are held accountable, and that the Attorney General appoint someone from outside the Government to do so, as it was high-ranking Government officials who made the decision. We support the call on Attorney General Mukasey to immediately appoint an outside special counsel to investigate and prosecute Maher’s extraordinary rendition.

The letter that was sent by House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Subcommittee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Foreign Affairs Chairman of the International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight Subcommittee, Bill Delahunt (D-MA) is available below.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.