Fresh Air Interview with CCR Attorney Maria LaHood and Maher Arar (Thursday)

Please tune in this Wednesday, September 17, 2008 to hear an interview with Canadian rendition survivor Maher Arar and CCR attorney Maria LaHood on Fresh Air from WHYY.

Hear Arar and LaHood speak to Fresh Air’s Terry Gross about how U.S. officials sent Arar to Syria to be tortured, his struggle for justice, and the Second Circuit Appellate Court’s extremely rare order last month that approximately 12 judges will rehear Arar’s case on December 9, 2008. To find out the broadcast schedule for your town or city, click here.

Mr. Arar and CCR seek to hold accountable the high-level administration officials responsible for sending him to be tortured and detained in Syria for a year – a practice known as extraordinary rendition. For more information on Maher Arar’s case, click here. In 2002, Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen, was detained at a New York airport on his way home from a family trip. He was interrogated by U.S. officials about alleged links to al-Qaeda and was prevented from getting assistance from a lawyer. He was then delivered to Syria, a country renowned for torture. Mr. Arar was interrogated, brutally tortured and held in a grave-like cell in Syria for over ten months. No country, including the U.S., has ever charged him with any crime.

CCR originally filed the case in the Eastern District of New York in January 2004; the first ruling, in February 2006, dismissed the case because letting it proceed might harm national security and foreign relations. CCR appealed the decision, arguing before a three-judge panel in November 2007, but the Court of Appeals issued a 2-1 decision in June 2008 along similar lines. The dissenting judge found that the majority decision gives federal officials the license to “violate constitutional rights with virtual impunity.”

In stark contrast to the response of the U.S. government, the Canadian government conducted an exhaustive inquiry in response to public outcry, found that Mr. Arar had no connection to terrorism, and, in January 2007, apologized to him for its role in what happened and awarded him $10 million compensation. For more information on Maher Arar’s case, click here.

On the Air with WHYY’s Fresh Air – Major Cities
Thursday, September 18, 2008

Chicago WBEZ 91.5 FM 11 AM – 12 PM
Los Angeles KPCC 89.3 FM 7-8 PM
New York WNYC 93.9 FM 3-4 PM
Washington, DC WAMU 88.FM 3-4 PM

To find out the broadcast schedule for your town or city, click here

Or, listen live online at NPR’s Fresh Air website.


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