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Second Circuit to reconsider Arar rendition lawsuit

[JURIST] The Second Circuit Court of Appeals [official website] Thursday agreed to an en banc rehearing [order, PDF; CCR press release] of a case brought by Canadian citizen Maher Arar [advocacy website; JURIST news archive] seeking a declaratory judgment against US government officials for deporting him to Syria. The court originally dismissed [decision, PDF; JURIST report] Arar's lawsuit in July, ruling that he had failed to state a claim for which it had jurisdiction to grant relief. The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) [advocacy website], which requested the rehearing, said that the decision to reconsider the case was "extremely rare." Bloomberg has more. Reuters has additional coverage.

Arar was detained by the US in 2002 after flying to New York from Tunisia on his way home to Canada. He was later transferred to Syria, where he alleges he was tortured. Arar had argued [CCR press release] that he should be able to challenge the US government's policy of extraordinary rendition [JURIST news archive] under the Torture Victim Protection Act [text] and the Fifth Amendment [text] of the US Constitution. In October 2007, US lawmakers apologized [JURIST report] to Arar during a joint hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee [official website]. In January 2007, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized to Arar [JURIST report] on behalf of the Canadian government and announced a settlement of $10.5 million (CAD) compensation for pain and suffering.

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