Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Six years later, and counting

Why did Canada illegally render Algerian asylum-seeker Benamar Benatta to US authorities on Sept 12, 2001, where despite being cleared of charges of terrorism, he was illegally held and tortured for another five years?

Muslim - check
Knows something about planes - check
Applied for refugee status in Canada a week before 9/11 - check

On Sept 5, 2001, Benatta, an 33 year old Algerian air force lieutenant who had been in the US as part of a US/Algerian military exchange program, entered Canada from the US on an expired visa to claim refugee status.

On Sept 11, 2001, following the WTC attack, he was interviewed in Canada by the FBI.

On Sept 12 the RCMP drove him to the US border and handed him over to US authorities.

In November 2001, the FBI cleared him of any connection to terrorism and he was charged instead with carrying expired ID papers.

Five months later he received council, learning for the first time about the WTC attacks and why he was being held. Benatta speaks only French.

In 2003, the federal US magistrate hearing his case called it "a sham perpetrated by the FBI and INS to justify his rendition from Canada", and stated their explanations "bordered on ridiculousness". The magistrate recommended his immediate release from custody.
Benatta was then held for a further three years in another US prison, shackled in a cell with "WTC" written on the door. He claims to have been tortured by prison officials and other prisoners.

In July 2006, he was returned to Canada to continue with his Canadian refugee application, which is still pending.

Benatta appears to have spent almost five years in two US prisons because Canada handed him over to US authorities for being a Muslim who knew something about planes.
In April, Stockwell Day promised to look into it.

Benatta will attend a rally being held in Toronto at noon today to demand a public review.
How's everyone doin' with that "one security perimeter" concept?

h/t Mostly Water for rally details


Anonymous said...

Standard terrorist practise, this -
showing up at the border with an outdated visa and claims of being knowledgable about planes.
I'm surprised more of them don't use this clever tactic to throw suspicion off themselves.

West End Bob said...

I was going to comment "Unfuckingbelievable" but that's not true.

It is fuckingbelievable in today's US regime . . . .

Cathie from Canada said...

Oh. My. God.
I had never heard of this case before. Thanks for publicizing it, Alison.

Boris said...

Wow. I wonder how many more stories like this there are.

RossK said...

But Alison--

We need that single perimeter, don't we?

After all, according the current sitting Prime Minister, we too were attacked on Sept 11, 2001.


West End Bob said...

I see Global National did a story on this last night.

Thanks for pointing them in the direction, Alison!

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