Since the book is not scheduled to be released until Fall of 2008 it may be able to comment on the results of the Iacobucci Inquiry due in January of 2008. One thing is certain the Iacobucci Inquiry will do absolutely nothing to help the three clear their name unlike the Arar inquiry. Virtually everything is being done in secrecy. The web page for the inquiry gives no information about what is happening. The last entry about what was new was published last April. About half the inquiry so far has taken place without the public knowing anything about what is going on: no summary, no news releases, nada.
New book will outline plight of Arar, three other detainees
Paul Gessell, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Friday, September 14, 2007
There's been a play, an art show and a soon-to-released movie to tell the story, or one just like it, of Ottawa engineer Maher Arar. Next up is a book by family friend and social activist Kerry Pither.
Arar is not just a diplomatic incident or a political controversy. He has become an enduring figure in popular culture, a man with a story suitable for all media.
The wrongfully convicted grab our imagination like few others, with Steven Truscott, David Milgaard and Wilbert Coffin being other examples of Canadian men whose stories refuse to disappear from books, movies and theatres.
The tale of Ottawa engineer Maher Arar will be part of a book being penned by Kerry Pither.
Wayne Cuddington, The Ottawa Citizen
The latest version of the Arar story is to surface in The Lucky Ones: Canadians Betrayed in the Name of Fighting Terror, which is to be published by Penguin, probably in the fall of 2008, the company announced yesterday.
That non-fiction book will examine the case of Arar and three other Muslim Canadian men -- Ahmad El Maati, Abdulla Almalki and Muayyed Nureddin -- who were all imprisoned and tortured in the same Syrian jail and eventually freed without any charges being laid against them anywhere.
After Arar's release, a federal inquiry exonerated him and recommended millions of dollars in compensation. Another inquiry, known as the Iacobucci Commission, is investigating the facts around the imprisonment of the other three Canadian men.
During Arar's detention, Pither worked closely with the man's wife, Monia Mazigh, Amnesty International and the Council on American Islamic Relations to free him and to push for a public inquiry. Frequently, Pither served as a spokeswoman for the Arar family.
"Once the Arar Inquiry was set up, Pither co-ordinated the work of 18 national and international human rights, labour, civil liberties and Muslim and Arab organizations with intervenor status, analysing documents, listening to testimony and proposing questions for witnesses," says a Penguin news release on the book.
Pither is now engaged in similar activities at the inquiry examining the events involving the other three men.
"Since the attacks of 9/11, much has been written about the 'terror suspects' through the eyes of investigating agencies," says Diane Turbide,
editorial director at Penguin Group (Canada). "Very little has been written about these investigations through the eyes of their targets.
"Kerry Pither will do this by telling the personal stories of these four men -- from their first encounters with CSIS and the RCMP, to their overseas
incarceration, torture and interrogation, to their eventual
release and the long wait for answers about the role of Canadian officials."
News of the forthcoming book has surfaced just as movie screens across North America prepare for the release of Rendition, a feature film about an Egyptian-American man jailed and tortured because of suspected terrorist links. Rendition is not based exclusively on, but is influenced by, the Arar story.
Arar was the subject of an exhibition of abstract art this summer at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax. The exhibition by Garry Neill Kennedy was called The Colours of Citizen Arar and was inspired by horrifying anecdotes from his Syrian detention posted on Arar's personal website.
Two years ago, GCTC staged a play, Relative Good, that was inspired by Arar's case and echoed the events of his imprisonment.
© The Ottawa Citizen 2007