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Three torture victims receive $31 million in federal compensation

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Abdullah Almalki, right to left, Muayyed Nureddin and Ahmad El-Maati arrive at a news conference in Ottawa Tuesday Oct.21, 2008. Three Canadians who were tortured in Syria have received a total of $31 million in federal compensation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Abdullah Almalki, right to left, Muayyed Nureddin and Ahmad El-Maati arrive at a news conference in Ottawa Tuesday Oct.21, 2008. Three Canadians who were tortured in Syria have received a total of $31 million in federal compensation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA — Three Canadians who were tortured in Syria have received just over $31 million in federal compensation.

The Liberal government said in March it had settled long-standing lawsuits filed by Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati and Muayyed Nureddin over the federal role in their ordeals, though details of the settlement were not made public.

Recently released public accounts note the $31.25-million payment to three unidentified individuals and The Canadian Press has confirmed it refers to the settlement.

In October 2008, an inquiry led by former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci found Canadian officials contributed to the torture of Almalki, El Maati and Nureddin by sharing information with foreign agencies.

Iacobucci concluded the men were abused in Syrian custody and, in the case of El Maati, in Egypt as well.

The former judge cited the RCMP, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and Foreign Affairs for mistakes in the cases.

All three men deny involvement in terrorism and none has ever been charged.

The office of Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Thursday it could not discuss any monies paid to the individuals, but noted they had been seeking $100 million in compensation.

In March, Goodale and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland apologized to the men on behalf of the government “for any role Canadian officials may have played in relation to their detention and mistreatment abroad and any resulting harm.”

“We hope that the steps taken today will support them and their families in their efforts to begin a new and hopeful chapter in their lives.”