Maher Arar, a telecommunications engineer with dual Canadian and Syrian citizenship, was detained during a stop-over in JFK Airport in 2002 and deported on suspicion of being a member of Al Qaeda. He wound up in a Syrian prison where he was locked up and beaten for almost a year before protests from his wife led to his release.
Arar is pursuing a federal lawsuit charging that the United States government violated his constitutional right to due process as well as his right to choose a country of removal other than one in which he would be tortured, as guaranteed under the Torture Victim Protection Act.
Maria Lahood is Arar’s lawyer through the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR). A specialist in international human rights litigation, Lahood discusses her efforts to hold corporations and government officials accountable for torture, extra-judicial killings and war crimes abroad.