TORONTO — An Algerian man is set to sue the federal government for the abuses he says he suffered at the hands of American security forces after he left Canada 15 years ago.

The unproven allegations by Djamel Ameziane, who was never charged or prosecuted, raise further questions about Canada’s complicity in the abuse of detainees at Guantanamo Bay — a topic his lawyer said demands a full−scale public inquiry.

“My current situation is really bad, I am struggling to survive,” Ameziane, 50, said from near Algiers. “I was repatriated from Guantanamo and left like almost homeless. I couldn’t find a job because of the Guantanamo stigma and my age, so a settlement would be very helpful to me to get my life back together.”

In a draft statement of claim obtained by The Canadian Press, Ameziane seeks damages of $50 million on the grounds that Canada’s security services co−operated with their U.S. counterparts even though they knew the Americans were abusing him.

“The Crown’s conduct constituted acquiescence and tacit consent to the torture inflicted upon the plaintiff,” the lawsuit alleges.

Canadian intelligence, the suit alleges, began sharing information with the Americans after failing to pick up on the 1999 “Millennium plot” in which Abdul Ressam, another Algerian who had been living in Montreal, aimed to blow up the Los Angeles airport. After 9/11, Canadian agents interrogated Ameziane at the infamous American prison in Cuba, as they did Canada’s Omar Khadr, according to the claim.

Ameziane’s Edmonton−based lawyer, Nate Whitling, said the government’s recent out−of−court settlement — worth a reported $10.5 million — with Khadr over violation of his rights has prevented scrutiny of Canada’s alleged complicity in abuses at Guantanamo Bay. A judicial inquiry is needed, Whitling said.

“Only then can the Canadian public come to understand the extent to which Canada is responsible for the torture of innocent detainees in the aftermath of 9/11,” Whitling said.

The lawyer, who said he planned to file the lawsuit in Court of Queen’s Bench in Edmonton on Monday, said Ameziane would be prepared to put the claim on hold in exchange for an inquiry. Whitling also said two other people planned similar suits that name the federal government, RCMP and Canadian Security and Intelligence Service.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale had no comment given the pending legal proceedings.

The U.S. detained Ameziane at Guantanamo Bay for more than 11 years until his release in December 2013.

“For many years, I had the idea of suing the Canadian government but didn’t know how and honestly didn’t know it was possible until I read the news about the settlement of Omar Khadr, who was my fellow inmate in Guantanamo Bay,” Ameziane said. “The action I am taking may also make (Canadian officials) think twice before acting against the interests of Canada and Canada’s human values.”

According to his claim, Ameziane left Algeria in the 1990s to escape rising violence there. After working as a chef in Austria, he came to Canada in December 1995 and asked for refugee status. He lived in Montreal for five years, attending mosques where the Americans said members of al−Qaida prayed.

When Canada rejected his request for asylum, Ameziane opted to go to Afghanistan rather than Algeria, where he feared abuse. He left Afghanistan for Pakistan in October 2001 when fighting erupted, but was captured and turned over to American forces in exchange for a bounty, his claim states.

The Americans first took him to a detention facility in Kandahar, where he alleges guards brutalized him, then sent him to Guantanamo Bay based partly on information provided by Canadian intelligence, according to his claim.

Ameziane, who denies any terrorism links, says Canadian agents interviewed him in Guantanamo in February and May 2003 and turned over recordings of the interrogations to the Americans. They did so, he claims, despite widespread allegations that U.S. forces were abusing detainees and even though they knew he faced no charges and had no access to a lawyer or the courts.

Ameziane alleged American officials interrogated him hundreds of times and abused him when they decided he wasn’t co−operating. The abuse, he alleges, included sleep−deprivation, intrusive genital searches, pepper−spraying, waterboarding, being left in freezing conditions, and having his head slammed against walls and the floor, dislocating his jaw.

“Canadian officials came to interview me on two occasions (and) they not only shared information about me with my American torturers but even tried to get information out of me that had nothing to do with Canada in order to help my American torturers,” Ameziane said. “I refused to answer questions, after that I was subjected to a worse treatment by the Americans.”

Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

24 COMMENTS

    • sad: Trudeau has set a precedent that is going to cost over & over & over again! the article states “When Canada rejected his request for asylum, Ameziane opted to go to Afghanistan rather than Algeria, where he feared abuse. He left Afghanistan for Pakistan in October 2001 when fighting erupted, but was captured and turned over to American forces in exchange for a bounty, his claim states.” Ok, doesn’t that mean that he is not a Canadian citizen? Why should Canada pay him anything?? If he was captured in Pakistan “and turned over to American forces in exchange for a bounty”, (his claim states) why is that Canada’s responsibility?.

  1. Very predictable. Now does everyone understand how Trudeau didn’t “save money” by settling the Khadr case? What a disgrace.

  2. This is bullshit he wasn’t in Canada long enough to have his citizenship. This is garbage, he left so he should fix his own life like everybody else. Canada needs to stop payong terrorists.

  3. Would your government pay us? I guess not you left Canada now you want us to pay this is bull shit we payed to much already for a murder get the hell out of town leave take other person with you also and don’t forget Trudeau

  4. But he is struggling and this settlement would get him on the road to recovery. and so are millions of legal Canadians living in poverty who have paid their dues… DUH

  5. Nothing to do with Trudeau. This guy was tortured in 2003 under Chretian or Martin.Other ongoing errors were made by Harper. Andrew Smear keeps blaming the present Prime MInister which makes no sense. The Judges have already decided on some of this cases-they were the fault of Stephen Harper or earlier PMs. The only question is HOW MUCH compensation has to be paid. This guy- Did Canada cause his problem? I watch with interest.

    • Re: “some of this cases-they were the fault of Stephen Harper or earlier PMs.”

      All of the alleged torture (even for Khadr) took place prior to Harper being elected PM. If Canada was complicit in any torture is would be been on Chretien or Martin’s watch. There is no evidence that Canada was complicit in any torture on Harper’s watch.

    • Because a precedent has been set by the sucker canadian government. Canada seen as an easy mark and utopia for anyone who was a terrorist or jihadist. What a joke of a politically correct country we have become. Lawyers and terrorists getting rich, while folks like us seniors, are becoming marginilized.

  6. exactly…if there was torture it was done by Americans…try suing them. Your own country tortures also as you were afraid to go back…sue them….I guess millions of dollars would help you get back on your feet….so would a few thousand….get real

  7. According to his claim, Ameziane left Algeria in the 1990s to escape rising violence there. After working as a chef in Austria, he came to Canada in December 1995 and asked for refugee status. He lived in Montreal for five years, attending mosques where the Americans said members of al−Qaida prayed.

    When Canada rejected his request for asylum, Ameziane opted to go to Afghanistan rather than Algeria, where he feared abuse. He left Afghanistan for Pakistan in October 2001 when fighting erupted, but was captured and turned over to American forces in exchange for a bounty, his claim states.

    It clearly states that Canada rejected his request for asylum so Canada should not pay. Why doesn’t he go after Afghanistan or Pakistan for this compensation?

  8. Trudeau needs someone to give him a slap to wake him up. Running a country way beyond his knowledge. No clue what he is doing . PLEASE everyone lets get him out of his seat . We will be buried in dept.
    I am sure we could pick up a college kid to run this country better then Justin. Lets smoke some more pot !

  9. Trudeau is not, in any way , shape or form, qualified to run a country. There should be an aptitude test , along with life experience before anyone assumes the mantle of leadership of a political party. And proven patriotism, along with management skills. Anyone who drinks to excess or takes drugs should also be excluded. The Liberal Party of Canada is also complicit and should be censured for putting him in as their Leader.

  10. This guy lived in Canada for 5 years and was denied asylum, yet believes he should get a HUGE payout from Canada? What exactly is the criteria these people must meet, to be entitled to these payouts? Who determines the amount of a payout? Why is he not suing the US? Could it be that Trudeau has set a very dangerous precedent and we are too easy of a target for these people to extort money? Appeal to our drama teacher, selfie loving, sock boy in chief, and get a tearful apology and a huge payout? Could it be that Trudeau fuels this entitlement? I could sure use that amount of payout, along with many more in this country who have actually worked hard and paid their taxes and are living week to week, or our homeless, our veteran’s who’ve been abandoned and fallen through the cracks, indigenous people, but these low life’s get preferential treatment? With these huge payouts, these people will NEVER have to work another day in their lives (and like the Khadr payout, nontaxable money), yet some Canadian citizens will never be able to afford to retire, or can’t afford the rising costs of the basic necessities, and living in poverty, but these people will live in the lap of luxury at the Canadian taxpayer’s expense. No wonder Canadians are so pissed with our Crime Minister A$$hat!

  11. if this child wants to give more of our hard earned money away,,,,tell him NO,,,this IS OUR TAX DOLLARS, not trudo’s personal cash,, it is CANADIANS MONEY,,,does trudope get a cut of all this money he is giving away,,,,,his rating should fall completely off of the chart,,kick him ta H-ll out,,we do not need him,,,,,,he’ll be gone in 2019 anyway so let him go now,,,,,,,

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