Security laws not shield for embarrassment: judge

Jul 09, 2009 03:03 PM


OTTAWA A federal judge says national security laws are not intended to shield intelligence agencies from embarrassment.

In a ruling released today, Federal Court Justice Simon Noel says there is a "genuine public interest" in openly dealing with the subject of torture of detainees, and the use of information gathered through force.

The long-awaited judgment explains why Noel approved release of disputed sections of a 2006 inquiry report into the overseas torture of Maher Arar.

The Ottawa engineer was abused in a crypt-like Syrian cell after being shipped to Damascus by U.S. officials in 2002.

A federal inquiry found information supplied by the RCMP likely prompted the Americans to send Arar to Syria.

The government later apologized to Arar and gave him more than $10 million in compensation.