Amir Attaran

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Amir Attaran
Amir Attaran H1N1 conference.png
Nationality Canadian
Occupation Professor, University of Ottawa
Known for Canadian Afghan detainee issue

Amir Attaran (Persian: امیر عطاران‎‎) is a Canadian lawyer and law professor.

Currently, Attaran is Associate Professor of Law and Population Health and the holder of the Canada Research Chair in Law, Population Health and Global Development Policy at the University of Ottawa.

Early life and education[edit]

Attaran was born in California[1] to immigrants from Iran and has earned a B.A. (UC Berkeley), M.S. (Caltech), LL.B. (UBC) and a D.Phil in immunology from the University of Oxford.[2]

Attaran is a naturalized Canadian.


Attaran is an Associate Professor of Law.[2]


Attaran is extensively involved with malaria advocacy. Cooperating with the organization Africa Fighting Malaria, he has argued publicly for the renewed use of DDT in sub-Saharan Africa to combat malaria. A famous 2004 article authored by Attaran in The Lancet was sharply critical of the WHO for approving ineffective malaria medicines such as chloroquine in a manner tantamount to "medical malpractice".[3] Shortly after that article and a pressure campaign led by Attaran, global policy changed very quickly to make use of artemisinin class medicines.

In 2004, Attaran wrote an opinion piece with Shirin Ebadi, published in the New York Times, arguing that the World Bank should incorporate democratic principles in its funding criteria, and avoid funding dictatorships.

On September 9, 2005, he wrote another opinion piece in the Times criticizing the United Nations for not adopting quantifiable metrics for its Millennium Development Goals.

In February 2007, he received significant media coverage in Canada when he brought forward testimony by Afghan prisoners captured by Canadians and handed to the custody of the Afghan National Army, who said they had later been abused by the ANA.[1][4][5]


Attaran has initiated or been the subject of multiple controversial proceedings, which some[who?] allege equate to SLAPP lawsuits. According to Elections Canada's donor records, Attaran is a routine donor to the Liberal Party of Canada. Some[who?] allege this proves that Attaran uses SLAPP lawsuits to harass conservatives.

As noted above, in 2007 Attaran became a major media commentator when he alleged he had proof of Canada's military overseeing and participating in the abuse of Afghan detainees. However, these were false accusations against Canada's soldiers in Afghanistan, who he faslsely accused of war crimes.[6] Attaran never produced any of the alleged proof, nor could that proof be found by an all-party parliamentary committee.[7]

In 2009, Attaran complained Canada was becoming "one of the bad kids on the block."[8]

In 2013, Attaran defended Liberal leader Justin Trudeau's admitted marijuana use. When Attorney General of Canada and Minister of Justice Peter MacKay criticized Trudeau, Attaran filed a complaint with the Nova Scotia Bar Association, alleging MacKay committed professional misconduct. Attaran's complaint was dismissed.[9]

On November 27, 2013, Attaran filed a complaint alleging professional misconduct against lawyers who worked in the Prime Minister's Office. Attaran alleged the two lawyer's actions as members of the office "violated legal ethics."[10] On October 29, 2014, the Toronto Star reported that Attaran's allegations against the lawyers “were fully investigated and closed.”[11]

Attaran comments on many issues, having commented on war crimes, cancer treatment,[12] physician assisted death, school boards,[13] and any topic of the day.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Amir Attaran on the treatment of Afghan detainees". Globe and Mail. 2007-03-09. Retrieved 2007-04-27. 
  2. ^ a b "Common Law Section: Contact: Amir Attaran". 
  3. ^,%20the%20Global%20Fund,%20and%20medical%20malpractice%20in%20malaria%20treatment.pdf
  4. ^ Oziewicz, Estanislao (2007-02-09). "Activist swamped by abusive messages". Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 2007-03-19. Retrieved 2007-04-27. 
  5. ^ "Latest Afghan abuse claims spark cries for O'Connor to resign". CBC News. 2007-04-23. Retrieved 2007-04-27. 
  6. ^ a b Lilley, Brian; Bureau, National. "Smear mongering". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2016-04-29. 
  7. ^ "Smear mongering | Columnists | Opinion". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  8. ^ "The Ugly Canadian | Literary Review of Canada". Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  9. ^ "MacKay's pot comment OK, regulator says". 2013-10-08. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  10. ^ "Mike Duffy-Nigel Wright payment lawyers have professional misconduct complaints launched against them | National Post". 2013-11-27. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  11. ^ "Case closed on lawyers in Mike Duffy-Nigel Wright affair | Toronto Star". 2014-10-29. Retrieved 2014-10-29. 
  12. ^ Zlomislic, Diana (2016-04-29). "Critics decry a "cynical abuse" of privacy law to avoid revealing how many people fell off the transplant list because of a system breakdown.". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2016-04-29. 
  13. ^ "How the Ottawa school board unwittingly broke the law". Ottawa Sun. Retrieved 2016-04-29. 

External links[edit]