The Mauritanian’s Canadian connection: What the new movie about Guantanamo detainee omitted

It was an excellent night time on the Golden Globes for The Mauritanian. 

Jodie Foster gained the award for finest supporting actress in a drama, while co-star Tahar Rahim was nominated for finest actor; that award was given posthumously to Chadwick Boseman.

The Mauritanian tells the story of Mohamedou Ould Salahi, a man of Mauritanian origin who spent 14 years within the infamous American army detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he was tortured into giving a false confession however by no means charged with against the law. 

The movie, which will be broadly launched in Canada Tuesday, is bringing new consideration to Salahi’s remedy by the Americans. But what viewers will not see is any depiction of his expertise in Canada, where Salahi lived for a short while that he described as a “nightmare.”

He stated he was adopted and photographed while residing in Montreal.

“The intelligence community started to interfere in my life and turned it into hell,” he stated. “I was really scared.”

In an interview with The National’s Adrienne Arsenault, Salahi stated he believes Canadian safety forces’ surveillance of him is what landed him in Guantanamo within the first place. 

Tahar Rahim performs Salahi in The Mauritanian, which does not present the transient time he spent in Canada. The movie is directed by Kevin Macdonald and will be launched in Canada Tuesday. (Graham Bartholomew/STXfilms)

Under suspicion in Montreal

Salahi determine to maneuver to Montreal in November 1999 as his visa was working out in Germany, where he had initially gone on a school scholarship. 

He had been below surveillance in Germany due to his hyperlinks to al-Qaeda. 

Salahi stated he had joined the militant Islamist group within the early Nineteen Nineties, due to its opposition to the communist government that dominated Afghanistan on the time.

He wrote in his memoir that he went to Afghanistan for a few months however moved on with his life as soon as the communist government fell.

His cousin stayed a member of al-Qaeda and rose by the ranks to grow to be an advisor to its late chief, Osama bin Laden. On a few events, he known as Salahi for assist with cash transfers. 

While German authorities by no means detained or charged Salahi, the stain of suspicion adopted him to Canada. 

He ended up attending the identical mosque as Ahmed Ressam, later dubbed the “millennium bomber,” who was finally convicted within the U.S. of a terrorist conspiracy to assault the Los Angeles International Airport.

“Americans suspected me of being the mastermind of this horrible plot,” Salahi stated. “And the Canadians swallowed every last bit of it and were sold on this very fantastical story of the Americans.”

He described one morning when he and his roommate found somebody drilling into their wall. Salahi stated he believes it was Canadian intelligence brokers attempting to bug his condominium, however that was by no means confirmed.

WATCH | Salahi describes his time in Montreal:

Former Guantanamo detainee Mohamedou Ould Salahi says he believes he was surveilled by Canadian intelligence while he lived in Montreal. 1:58

Interrogated in Guantanamo Bay

In January 2000, shortly after that expertise, Salahi left Montreal and returned to Mauritania to see his sick mom. 

He was later detained and shuttled off to prisons in Jordan and a U.S. base in Afghanistan earlier than being taken to the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in 2002.

It was an expertise just like the one that a whole bunch of other Muslim males went by because the U.S. started a sweeping international crackdown within the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, assaults that it known as a “war on terror.”

In 2002, The U.S. began utilizing its Guantanamo Bay army base as a detention centre for its terror suspects, and it wasn’t till two years later that the Supreme Court dominated detainees held there might legally problem their imprisonment. 

When it got here to Salahi, the Americans contended he was a recruiter for al-Qaeda.

In his memoir, Salahi wrote that brokers he believed have been from CSIS and the RCMP got here to Guantanamo to interrogate him about his time residing in Canada. Salahi was emphatic they didn’t use torture. 

He stated he hoped they might understand he was harmless and straighten out the misunderstanding however acknowledged to CBC News that he had been naive to consider that.

Based on a few of the questions requested by his American interrogators, Salahi stated he now thinks Canadian safety companies have been truly the rationale for his seize and detention —that they handed details about him to their American counterparts. 

He says the Americans ended up grilling him over a cellphone dialog he had in Montreal that he believes they’d heard about from Canadian brokers.

Neither CSIS nor the RCMP would touch upon Salahi’s allegations.

“We do not publicly comment, or confirm or deny the specifics of our investigations, operational interests, methodologies or activities, or publicly comment on the nature or substance of intelligence that is shared with our partners, in order to maintain the integrity of our operations,” a CSIS spokesperson stated in a press release to CBC News.

An RCMP spokesperson stated the power “does not generally confirm or deny who, or who may not be, subject of an investigation, nor does the RCMP comment on investigations conducted by other countries.”

WATCH | Salahi on why he suspects a few of his Guantanamo interrogators have been Canadian:

Mohamedou Ould Salahi describes what it was prefer to bear an interrogation in Guantanamo Bay that he believes stemmed from Canadians passing on particulars of one in all his cellphone calls in Montreal. 2:01

Holds no grudges however needs apology

After extracting confessions from Salahi, the Americans eased strain on him, and he was in a position to spend a few of his time writing about his experiences. 

He despatched the writings to his authorized group, led by Nancy Hollander, who was combating to get him launched on the grounds he had been unlawfully detained.

Salahi’s U.S. lawyer, Nancy Hollander, fought to have him launched on grounds that he had been unlawfully detained. He was launched in 2016. (Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)

Jodie Foster performs Hollander within the movie. (Graham Bartholomew/STXfilms/The Associated Press)

The a whole bunch of pages he wrote have been finally was a guide, revealed while he was nonetheless in Guantanamo, albeit with sections redacted by American officers.

It wasn’t till 2016 that Salahi was let out. A review board determined he was not a risk. No costs have been ever introduced towards him.

He now lives again in Mauritania and advised CBC News he holds no grudges.  

For years, his legal professionals have been attempting to acquire any proof Canada gathered or shared with the Americans. They have been unsuccessful.

Salahi stated he needs to see Canadian intelligence companies come clear about their involvement in his case and apologize. 

WATCH | Salahi on what he hopes to get from Canadian authorities:

Mohamedou Ould Salahi says he needs an apology from Canadian intelligence companies and an admission that they’d a task in his detention. 1:07

Director, actors consider in Salahi’s innocence

The Mauritanian’s director, Kevin Macdonald, stated he did not embody the Canadian side of Salahi’s life story as a result of he needed to focus the movie round Salahi’s time in Guantanamo, however that doesn’t suggest he thinks the function of the Canadian safety companies does not warrant examination. 

“The Canadians went and questioned Mohamedou while he was in Guantanamo,” he advised CBC’s Adrienne Arsenault. “And, yeah, they they took advantage of the situation. They took advantage of his unlawful imprisonment. So, yeah, we can say that they bear some of the moral shame for that, too.”

What echoed throughout interviews with Macdonald and the celebs of the movie, Rahim and Foster, was a perception in Salahi’s innocence and a way of accountability to do his expertise justice.

WATCH | The Mauritanian director, actors on why they consider Salahi:

Director Kevin Macdonald and lead actors Tahar Rahim, who performs Mohamedou Ould Salahi, and Jodie Foster, who performs Salahi’s lawyer, Nancy Hollander, talk about desirous to do him justice in The Mauritanian. 2:17

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