A former detainee at Guantanamo Bay now living in Algeria is launching a $50 million lawsuit against the Canadian government.
Djamel Ameziane says he was tortured during his 11-year stay at Gitmo and that Canada was complicit in the alleged abuse. The Canadian Press has secured a copy of his claim against he government.
Ameziane lived in Canada for five years until his refugee claim was rejected and he was forced to leave the country. He ended up going to Afghanistan, where he was arrested by American authorities and first sent to Kandahar and then to Guantanamo Bay, where he was interrogated by Canadian security alongside Omar Khadr, the confessed killer who just received a $10.5 million payment from the Canadian government.
Nate Whitling, Ameziane’s legal counsel, says a judicial inquiry would serve to clarify exactly what Canada’s role was at Guantanamo Bay and whether these activities can be interpreted as mistreatment or torture.
“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 told The Canadian Press, adding that his client is quite willing to withhold his claim until an inquiry is established.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has not commented on the lawsuit or the desirability of a judicial inquiry.
“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.
He specifically accuses Gitmo interrogators of alleged mistreatment that included being deprived of sleep, waterboarded and pepper-sprayed. Ameziane also recounts having his face assaulted and his jaw dislocated.