There is no way that Iacobucci will make the inquiry fully public. It is called an Internal Inquiry and he interprets that given the circumstances that it will specifically not be a full public inquiry. Iacobucci does have as Day notes the power to hold public hearings but he has chosen not to do so except at the stage before witnesses were called and interrogated. A total cloak of secrecy has covered the inquiry since the end of May.
THere is a good TV interview with AL Malki on CBC.
Three Arab-Canadians who allege Canadian officials contributed to their torture overseas called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Friday to make the federal inquiry into their cases fully public.
Headed by former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci, the inquiry is examining the cases of Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati and Muayyed Nureddin, who say they were wrongly labelled as terrorists by Canadian authorities and tortured in Syria and Egypt.
The appeal by the three men came a day after Amnesty International and a coalition of other rights groups said the inquiry is being stymied by overprotective guidelines established by the Conservative government.
At a news conference in Ottawa Friday, the men and their lawyers said they are frustrated that Iacobucci has held most of the inquiry in camera since it began in March.
Iacobucci has also denied lawyers for the three men access to the hearings, saying it would be too difficult to obtain special security clearance for them. The government has also cited the need to protect national security and quicken the inquiry process as a justification for keeping proceedings out of the public eye.
But Almalki, an Ottawa-based communications engineer, said his reputation and professional life have been "thrown out the window" since he was held for 22 months after his arrest in Syria in 2002.
He said the powerlessness he feels over being shut out of the process reminded him of the time he spent in a "grave-like" underground cell.
"We want a true public inquiry," Almalki told reporters Friday. "I am not able to put a single question to a single witness or see a single document. Why the secrecy?"
Asked about the inquiry in Ottawa Friday, the prime minister said Iacobucci has been given a "wide mandate," but has to weigh national security concerns in his role.
"Justice Iacobucci has all the power necessary to decide whether something should be held in private or whether it can be held in public," Harper said. "The government isn't going to interfere in how he conducts the inquiry."
'My life is in limbo'
Paul Copeland, Almalki's lawyer, cited the in camera testimony at the Maher Arar inquiry that was later held again within the public eye as an example of what he hoped would ultimately occur in Iacobucci's own proceedings.
"Our impressions are that there will be no such hearings at the inquiry," Copeland told CBC News on Friday. "What we have is anything but open and transparent. We know almost nothing about what's going on."
In an e-mail to CBCNews.ca, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day said the Iacobucci inquiry was a "clear indication" the Conservative government is taking steps to implement the recommendations made by the commissioner of the Arar inquiry, Justice Dennis O’Connor.
Day said the government is fully committed to working with Iacobucci and his counsel "to support the internal inquiry in fulfilling its mandate in a timely and efficient manner."
“If Chairman Iacobucci feels constrained by the terms of reference, he can approach the prime minister," Day said.
Almalki, El Maati and Nureddin all spent time in prison, where they say they were tortured and accused of links to al-Qaeda. All were eventually freed and allowed to return to Canada.
All believe that Canadian police or intelligence officers provided information to their foreign captors.
Kuwait-born El Maati was a truck driver who said he was tortured in both Egypt and Syria.
"I'm still waiting for real answers, so I can get on with my life," he said Friday.
Nureddin was the principal of an Islamic school in Toronto and was arrested at the Syrian border as he was returning from visiting relatives in northern Iraq in 2004.
"In many ways, my life is in limbo," Nureddin told reporters Friday.
"Not being able to participate in an inquiry into why I was tortured ... makes this limbo another form of torture."
While all three were investigated by CSIS on suspicion of links to terrorism, none was ever arrested here nor had any restrictions placed on their movements in Canada.