Ottawa (Times Of Ocean)- Former Guantanamo Bay detainee has sued Canada for his imprisonment. The Canadian government is being sued for $35 million for its alleged role in his 14-year imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay, during which he was tortured.
In a statement of claim filed on Friday in the Federal Court of Canada, Mohamedou Ould Slahi claims that Canadian authorities took actions that “caused, contributed to, and prolonged his torture, assault, and sexual assault at Guantanamo Bay.” Enhanced interrogation methods were used.
Mauritian national Slahi lived in Montreal from November 1999 to January 2000, during which time he was investigated by security services. Slahi, 51, claims Canadian authorities harassed him during their investigation, resulting in his returning to Mauritania.
Based on Slahi’s claim, Canadian authorities provided false information about his activities and otherwise contributed to events that eventually led to his arrest, after which he was transported to Jordan, Afghanistan, and finally Guantanamo Bay, where he spent 14 years without charge.
The statement of claim claims that Canada’s sharing of flawed intelligence created a vicious echo chamber. The Toronto Star first reported the suit on Saturday.
A request for comment on Saturday was not immediately responded to by the Attorney General of Canada, which represents the government.
During his detention, Slahi wrote several books, including a memoir that became the basis for the 2021 film The Mauritanian. Currently, Slahi is a writer-in-residence at a Dutch theatre.
Officials suspected Slahi of having links to terrorism when he was arrested in 2002, in part because he prayed at the same Montreal mosque as the attempted “Millennium bomber,” Ahmed Ressam. In the early 1990s, Slahi also travelled twice to Afghanistan to fight against the Soviet-backed Afghan government.
U.S. interrogators suspected Slahi of membership in al-Qaeda, and employed “enhanced interrogation techniques,” which are now considered torture.
“Slahi eventually confessed to the lies his interrogators told him,” the statement of claim reads. Slahi falsely confessed to having heard of a plot to blow up the CN Tower in Toronto, which he had never heard of.
There have been several high-profile cases of compensation being paid to individuals who were subjected to detention or torture due to Canadian authorities’ actions. Maher Arar, for example, received $10.5 million following his detention in Syria in 2007, and the government settled a lawsuit from Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr for the same amount in 2017.
Musafa Farooq, head of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, claims that Canada’s alleged complicity in the torture of a Canadian resident stems from Islamophobic stereotypes, and that accountability is necessary.
“Mr. Mohamedou was in peril partly because he was praying in a mosque where he was at the wrong place at the wrong time and came under surveillance by the Canadian state,” Farooq said in an interview with The Canadian Press.
The horrifying part of this story is that the Canadian government and national security administrations participated in torturing a man who had done nothing wrong, that they knew about it, and that they tried to ensure Canadians never found out about it.”