ITWASSOOTED: "To allow the Bush administration to evade accountability and continue to hide

Monday, February 20, 2006

"To allow the Bush administration to evade accountability and continue to hide

Judge dismisses Canadian deportation suit


NEW YORK -- A federal judge has tossed out a civil rights lawsuit filed by a Syrian-born Canadian man who claimed U.S. counterterrorism officials deported him so he could be tortured in Syria.

Maher Arar had sued the officials in 2004 in what was believed to be the first case challenging extraordinary rendition - the policy of transferring foreign terror suspects to third countries without court approval.

U.S. District Judge David G. Trager rejected arguments that Arar was protected by the Torture Victim Prevention Act, which allows U.S. courts to assess damages for human rights abuses committed abroad.

Trager said that as a non-citizen, Arar couldn't demonstrate that he has a viable cause of action under that statute.

Citing "the national security and foreign policy considerations at stake," the judge said Arar had no grounds in a U.S. court to claim his constitutional right to due process was violated.

Arar, 35, holds dual Syrian-Canadian citizenship and was traveling on a Canadian passport when he was stopped in New York during a layover while returning to Canada from Tunisia. He was held for 12 days before being sent to Syria on suspicion of being a member of al-Qaida, an allegation he denies.
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