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Nation Digest: Syrian-born Canadian can't sue U.S. over deportation

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

COURTS

Deportation suit against U.S. rejected

A Canadian engineer cannot sue the United States over being mistaken for a terrorist a year after the 2001 terrorist attacks, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.

The judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit voted 7 to 4 to uphold a decision by a lower court judge dismissing a lawsuit by Syrian-born Maher Arar, who was detained as he tried to change planes in New York in 2002.

Arar sued the U.S. government and top Justice Department officials, saying the United States sent him to Syria to be tortured days after he was picked up on a false tip from Canada that he had ties to Islamic extremists. The lawsuit said Arar was allowed to see a lawyer only once.

Syria has denied he was tortured. The Canadian government agreed to pay him almost $10 million after acknowledging that it had passed bad information to U.S. authorities.

The appeals court said it cannot let Arar sue the U.S. government without Congress enacting legislation that spells out exactly how a case as unusual as his can be brought and what potential remedy exists. Otherwise, the court said, allowing the lawsuit would "offend the separation of powers and inhibit this country's foreign policy."

Maria LaHood, a senior staff lawyer at the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represented Arar, said an appeal to the Supreme Court is likely.

-- Associated Press

Guantanamo detainee will be released: The Obama administration has decided to transfer overseas a Kuwaiti held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and will not appeal a court decision freeing him, the Justice Department said.


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