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Canada Apologizes for Role in US Rendition of Syrian-Canadian

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper says his government will pay nearly $9 million to a Syrian-born citizen detained and deported by the United States after he was wrongly identified as a suspected terrorist.

Mr. Harper apologized to Mahar Arar Friday and announced the compensation package. Arar was detained by the U.S. in 2002 based on information it received from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Arar was sent to Syria, where he says he was tortured during the year he spent in prison.

The Canadian government admitted last year it wrongly told the U.S. that Arar was linked to the al-Qaida terror network. Canadian courts have since cleared Arar of all links to terrorism and his name has been removed from watch lists in Canada.

Arar was detained at a New York airport while changing planes and sent to Syria under the controversial U.S. program known as extraordinary rendition. The program allows for suspects to be taken for questioning to a third country, including those with lower standards regarding the treatment of prisoners.

Canadian officials have complained to the U.S. about Arar's transfer and have asked that his name be removed from the U.S. list of terror suspects. Washington has denied any responsibility in the case. It has also refused to take Arar's name off the watch list.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.