UK court denies compensation for Algerian-born pilot wrongly detained after 9/11

[JURIST] The UK High Court has rejected [judgment text] the legal bid of Algerian-born pilot Lotfi Raissi [BBC report; Wikipedia profile] for compensation for his wrongful detention. Raissi was held under a US extradition warrant after being indicted [text, PDF] by a federal grand jury in Arizona shortly following the September 11 attacks [JURIST news archive]. US prosecutors alleged Raissi offered pilot training to the hijackers, but lacking evidence, sought his extradition on the grounds that Raissi had falsified his pilot's license application by failing to disclose a knee operation. The extradition request was rejected [BBC report] by a British judge for lack of evidence linking Raissi to terrorism.

Raissi was arrested naked in his home with his wife and brother on September 21, 2001. He was granted conditional bail [BBC report] on February 12, 2002 after almost five months detention because the US government was unable to submit any materials and documents to support its allegations. He sought compensation [BBC report] from the UK government under a scheme approved by the UK Home Office which, according to the court, allows for payments "to persons whose convictions are quashed on appeal or who, following charge, have not been proceeded against or have been acquitted of crime at trial." In its judgment Thursday, the UK court ruled that Raissi's claim did not fall within the ex gratia scheme because the claim stemmed from extradition proceedings, not from Britain's domestic criminal process. AP has more. BBC News has additional coverage.

 

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