Ottawa citizen Monia Mazigh has published a book about her struggle to free her husband Maher Arar from a security prison in Syria in 2002.

Arar disappeared while on a return flight to Canada in September 2002, was detained by U.S. authorities while in transit in New York and then falsely accused on being an al-Qaeda-linked terrorist before being transported and tortured in Syria. Hope and Despair tells the personal story of Mazigh’s battle.

Mazigh ultimately came up with a plan to bring public attention to the plight of her husband, whose innocence she never questioned. Vigils were held on Parliament Hill in Ottawa; she spoke out and tried to keep the media interested in the Arar file; she created a website; and she found important allies, including her local MP, Marlene Catterall; the leader of the New Democratic Party at the time, Alexa McDonough; and the head of Amnesty International Canada, Alex Neve.

Arar was released on October 5, 2003, 374 days after his removal to Syria. After a lengthy inquiry, he received $10.5 million CAD for his ordeal. In January 2007, Prime Minister Stephan Harper issued an apology “for any role Canadian officials may have played in what happened to Mr. Arar, Monia Mazigh and their family in 2002 and 2003.”

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