Maher Arar: My rendition and torture in Syrian prison highlights U.S. reliance on Syria as an ally

As Syria continues its brutal crackdown on demonstrators, Democracy Now! interviews a Canadian citizen who was repeatedly tortured by Syrian authorities after he was rendered to Syria by the United States in 2002. Maher Arar was seized at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport in September 2002 and sent to Syria, where he was tortured and interrogated in a tiny underground cell for nearly a year. He now works as a human rights advocate in Canada. “The co-operation with the Syrian government, as well as other dictatorships post-9/11, gave some legitimacy to those dictatorships,” says Arar. He calls on the United States and the United Nations to declare the Syrian regime illegitimate, and refer the matter to the International Criminal Court.

For the transcript, podcast and additional coverage of the situation in Syria and Maher Arar’s case, visit