Rendition Victim Moves to Sue US
Canadian man who was deported by US officials to Syria, where he was
imprisoned and allegedly tortured, has appealed a court ruling
preventing him from suing the US.
Maher Arar filed a lawsuit before the US supreme court on Monday,
appealing a lower court ruling that rejected his case because it
involved national security information.
was arrested by US authorities while transiting through New York's JFK
International Airport in 2002, on his way home to Canada from a family
vacation in Tunis.
He was detained on information shared by Canadian police that suggested he had ties to "terrorist" groups.
US authorities held him in solitary confinement and interrogated him for nearly two weeks before deporting him to Syria.
He was imprisoned for a year in Damascus, the Syrian capital, during
which time he says he was tortured before finally being released and
returned to Canada.
A Canadian commission eventually cleared him of any connections to
"terrorist" organisations and concluded that he had been tortured.
He was awarded $10.5m in compensation.
Arar's suit before the Supreme Court questions whether "federal
officials who conspired with Syrian officials to subject an individual
in US custody to torture in Syria may be sued for damages".
David Cole, a lawyer for Arar, said: "The courts below ruled that
federal officials cannot be sued for sending an innocent man to Syria
to be tortured because the case would be too sensitive."
He said: "We hope the supreme court will reaffirm the role of checks and balances and afford Mr Arar his day in court."