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UK government to compensate pilot wrongly detained after 9/11

[JURIST] Officials from the UK Ministry of Justice [official website] announced Friday that the government will award compensation to Lotfi Raissi, an Algerian-born UK man wrongfully detained in the wake of the 9/11 attacks [JURIST news archive]. Raissi was jailed in September 2001 on a US extradition warrant after being indicted by a federal grand jury on accusations that he provided pilot training to 9/11 hijackers. In February 2008, the UK Appeals Court ordered [judgment text] the Ministry to consider Raissi's appeal for compensation, reversing a 2007 High Court ruling [JURIST report] that he was ineligible for compensation because his detention stemmed from an extradition order. The Appeals Court held that the issue of extradition is not relevant to the question of compensation so long as it still results in a miscarriage of justice by UK courts. Last month, the Appeals Court gave Justice Secretary Jack Straw [official profile] 28 days [judgment text] to decide whether to compensate Raissi. An independent assessor will now determine the amount of the award, which some expect to be several thousand pounds.

Raissi was arrested naked in his home with his wife and brother on September 21, 2001. He was granted conditional bail [BBC report] five months later because the US government was unable to adduce any evidence to support its allegations. He sought compensation under a government scheme allowing payment to any "person whose convictions are quashed on appeal or who, following charge, have not been proceeded against or have been acquitted of crime at trial."

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