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Rendition victim moves to sue US
Canadian man tortured in Syria appeals ruling that prevented him from suing officials.
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2010 13:17 GMT
Arar was deported to Syria by US authorities
where he was allegedly tortured [AP]

A 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.

Arar 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.

'Too sensitive'

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."

Source:
Agencies
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