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US Court Denies Maher Arar's Appeal


Maher Arar pauses during a news conference in Ottawa December 12, 2006. (REUTERS/Chris Wattie)

Syrian-born Canadian Maher Arar has again been denied the right to sue the United States over his deportation to Syria, where he was tortured.

During a September 2002 stopover in New York, while returning to Canada from a vacation in Tunisia, Arar was detained by U.S authorities, who were acting on information from Canadian security officials. Based on the erroneous Canadian information that Arar had links to al-Qaeda, the U.S. deported him to Syria, even though he was carrying a Canadian passport.

When Arar returned to Canada more than a year later, he said he had been tortured during his incarceration and accused American officials of sending him to Syria knowing that authorities there use torture.

In New York on Monday, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 7-4 against Arar. He had asked the court to overturn a decision of the U.S. District Court - Eastern District of New York, which had dismissed his suit against dozens of U.S. government officials, including former attorney-general John Ashcroft and former homeland security secretary Tom Ridge.

The New York City-based Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents Arar, said its attorneys could not immediately comment as they had not seen the ruling.


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