Ex-Guantanamo detainee sues Canada over 14-year detention and torture

·1 min read

A former detainee of Guantanamo Bay is taking legal action against the Canadian government over its alleged role in his 14 years behind bars marked by torture and intimidation.

Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Mauritanian who lived in Montreal for two months, launched a $35-million lawsuit Friday alleging that faulty intelligence provided by Canadian authorities contributed to his detention at the U.S. offshore military prison, where he says he suffered fierce beatings, sleep deprivation and sexual assault.

A statement of claim from Slahi, whose story became a best-selling memoir and Hollywood film, states that surveillance by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the RCMP was fed to his American interrogators, whose "torture broke him down" and prompted a false confession about a plan to blow up the CN Tower — which he had never heard of.

Slahi, now a 51-year-old writer-in-residence at a Dutch theatre company, left Canada in 2000 after authorities started questioning him about ties to Ahmed Ressam, the so-called millennium bomber who planned to attack Los Angeles airport, as the two briefly had attended the same mosque in Montreal.

The Federal Court of Canada ruled in 2009 that Slahi, who was once a permanent resident, was not entitled to intelligence documents because he was neither a citizen nor subject to legal proceedings in Canada.

Mustafa Farooq, head of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, says Canada's complicity in the torture of a Canadian resident stems from Islamophobic stereotypes, and that accountability is needed.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 23, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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