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Did Omar Khadr see Maher Arar in Kabul?

An FBI Special Agent, testifying in the opening stages of the trial of Omar Khadr, dropped a bombshell on Monday: He said Khadr had recognized a photo of Maher Arar as a man Khadr had seen in an Al-Qaeda safe house in Kabul.

Coming on the eve of Barack Obama’s inauguration, and the likely shutdown of Omar Khadr’s trial, the testimony exploded across Canada’s media.

A spokesperson for Omar Khadr said he wasn’t available for an interview on Monday night, but writer-advocate Kerry Pither posted this response on her website:

Today, at a pre-trial hearing for Omar Khadr in Guantanamo Bay, FBI interrogator Robert Fuller testified that in October 2002, a then just turned 16 year-old Omar Khadr, while incarcerated at the American’s military base in Bagram, Afghanistan, said that he had seen Arar in Afghanistan, an allegation Arar has long denied.

Never mind that nothing that anyone has said to interrogators at the Bagram air force base, where so much prisoner abuse, torture and even prisoner deaths have been documented, can be considered remotely reliable.

And never mind that Khadr has said that he repeatedly lied to interrogators in order to improve his detention conditions, especially when interrogators kept saying that if only he cooperated, he’d be sent home.

The fact is that Maher Arar has been exonerated. ...

It is the record of the FBI, CIA, RCMP, CSIS and other security agencies that must come under scrutiny now — not Maher Arar’s.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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