Friday, February 22, 2008

9/11 case pilot can claim damages against British Government (Updated: Judges condemn police lies)

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=== News Update ===

9/11 case pilot can claim damages against British Government (Updated: Judges condemn police lies)

By: BBC on: 17.02.2008 [03:33 ] (354 reads)

Article image
Lotfi Raissi says his life was destroyed by the accusations

�The public labelling of the appellant as a terrorist� continues to have, so it is said, a devastating effect on his life and on his health�

Lord Justice Hooper

A pilot wrongly accused of training the 9/11 hijackers is entitled to claim damages, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Judges said evidence suggested �serious defaults� in the decision to detain Lotfi Raissi in prison for nearly five months after a US extradition request.

The ruling means the government has to reconsider the 33-year-old�s claim for compensation, which it had refused.

Mr Raissi wants an apology and says his claim may run into millions of pounds. The government has said it may appeal.

�Faith in justice�

Speaking after the judgement, Mr Raissi, of west London, said he had suffered a miscarriage of justice, and had now been �completely exonerated�.

�I am very glad. I always had faith in British justice.

�Surely I can expect to hear from the home secretary with the long-awaited apology very soon.�

He said his wrongful arrest had left him blacklisted as a pilot and unable to work.

�They destroyed my life, they destroyed my career. For this I will never, ever forgive them,� he said.

Mr Raissi said mistakes had been made but he hoped they would be rectified so he could move on with his life.

�I have tremendous respect for this country, for the people here and for this society� and I have no regrets living here or living the rest of my life here.�

His lawyer, Jules Carey, said Mr Raissi�s life had been �completely ruined� and he needs to be compensated for his loss of career, what happened to his family and his health and for his loss of liberty.

�Public acknowledgement�

In giving the court�s judgment, Lord Justice Hooper said: �The public labelling of the appellant as a terrorist by the authorities in this country, and particularly by the CPS, over a period of many months has had and continues to have, so it is said, a devastating effect on his life and on his health.

�He considers that, unless he receives a public acknowledgement that he is not a terrorist, he will be unable to get his life back together again.�

Mr Raissi�s wife Sonia lost a claim for compensation last year

Mr Raissi first applied for compensation in March 2004 under a Home Office scheme for people deprived of their liberty because of a miscarriage of justice.

He is claiming compensation for the time spent in prison and the money he paid to train as a pilot, estimated at about �60,000.

Extradition warrant

The Algerian pilot was arrested under the Terrorism Act at his home in the UK soon after the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington in 2001.

He was held under an extradition warrant issued at the request of the US government, which accused him of having trained the 19 hijackers.

The US alleged he attended flight training and used a flight simulator at a training school in Arizona at the same time as 9/11 hijacker Hani Hanjour.

Mr Raissi remained in Belmarsh Prison for four-and-a-half months until he was granted bail. The Crown Prosecution Service, which was representing the US, had objected to bail.

It later emerged that Mr Raissi and Hanjour may have flown on the same day at the flight school and may have trained on the simulator together.

However, there was no evidence he trained Hanjour or had any links with him or any of the other hijackers.

In April 2002, a judge ruled that there was no evidence connecting Mr Raissi to terrorism.

His appeal case was originally brought against the home secretary, but following the department�s split, a decision on any compensation will be made by the Justice Secretary, Jack Straw.

Decision reversed

David Blunkett, who was home secretary when the Raissi case came to court in 2002, said the director of public prosecutions and the attorney general were responsible for deciding whether to take a case through the courts, not the home secretary.

The Ministry of Justice said the court�s judgement reversed a decision made by the divisional court in the secretary of state�s favour.

�We are considering the implications and whether or not to appeal,� a spokesman said.

In a statement, the Crown Prosecution Service said: �We will study the issues raised which affect us.

�The judgement reaches no firm conclusions regarding the CPS and we were not formally involved in the proceedings.�

The Metropolitan Police also stressed it was not party to the legal proceedings.

�As always, our overriding concern was for the safety of the public and information passed to the Crown Prosecution Service in connection with the extradition proceedings was provided in accordance with UK law,� a Scotland Yard spokesman said.

Mr Raissi�s brother, Mohamed, was also arrested and detained for 42 hours, but won compensation from the Metropolitan Police last year, the level of which has yet to be determined. The Met are appealing against the judgement.

Mr Raissi�s wife, Sonia, however, had her damages claim for �150,000 for being held for five days rejected by the High Court.

http://news. bbc.co.uk/ 1/hi/uk/7244418. stm

Judges condemn police lies after 9/11 attacks that ruined pilot�s life
911=PNAC, CIA, Mossad | 16.02.2008 03:04 | Anti-militarism | WorldS

o case after case after case falls apart due to the abject lack of evidence to support the Official Conspiracy Theory, yet we�re still expected to swallow this fairy tale, and allow those proven, pathological liars and killers who concocted it to continue with their most heinous international crimes, based solely on that Theory �

Judges condemn police lies after 9/11 attacks that ruined pilot�s life
(Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty)

Lotfi Raissi celebrates outside the High Court in Central London
Sean O�Neill, Crime and Security Editor

Six years of fighting for justice left Lotfi Raissi an emotional and physical wreck and his marriage close to ruin. But yesterday, the Algerian pilot falsely accused of training the September 11 terrorists heard, finally, that he was �completely exonerated� of any part in the attacks on the twin towers.

As Mr Raissi pored over the Court of Appeal�s densely worded judgment, the lengths to which the authorities had bent the rules to detain him in the febrile days after September 11 became clear.

Three of Britain�s most senior judges condemned the Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service for abusing the court process, presenting false allegations and not disclosing evidence.

But it was not until page 44, paragraph 154, line 17 that Mr Raissi�s eyes settled upon the words he had been praying for. The judges ruled that the charge that he was a terrorist and had trained the September 11 hijackers was one of which he should be �completely exonerated�. His only �crime� was to learn his skills at the same Florida flying school as two of the hijackers.

Police �exaggerated evidence� against British 9/11 suspect
Mr Raissi�s eyes filled with tears and he �wept with relief�. Outside the Royal Courts of Justice yesterday he told The Times: �I�ve regained my dignity, it feels as if I can breathe and I am free again. The judges have said there were serious faults and an abuse of process in my case and that has restored my faith in British justice. I knew this day would come.�

The judges also ordered the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice to reconsider the repeated refusal to compensate Mr Raissi for locking him in Belmarsh prison for six months and accusing him of the murders of thousands of people. Solicitors for Mr Raissi, 33, are expected to lodge a claim for compensation which � taking into account his loss of a career as an airline pilot, wrongful imprisonment and damage to his health � is expected to exceed �2 million.

But it will take more than money to repair Mr Raissi�s damaged life. His mental and physical health have deteriorated, his marriage to his French wife, Sonia, has suffered and his childhood dream of being a pilot is shattered for ever.

After the September 11 attacks a frightened world waited, dreading the next atrocity. Across the Atlantic, the FBI, the CIA and every law enforcement agency were chasing leads on the background of the 19 terrorists who had hijacked the four airliners.

In Phoneix, Arizona, they came across a flight school called Sawyer Aviation where Hani Hanjour � who crashed an airliner into the Pentagon � had trained. The school was popular with Middle Eastern trainees and one of those at Sawyer at the same time as Hanjour was Mr Raissi.

He had, checks quickly established, left the US and was now living in Britain. On September 17, a letter from the legal attach� at the US Embassy in London was delivered to Scotland Yard�s anti-terrorist branch.

�The FBI request that this matter be handled as expeditiously and discreetly as possible,� the letter said. The words �expeditiously� and �discreetly� were typed in bold.

Ten days later Scotland Yard executed its response to the American request. Armed officers smashed down the door of Mr Raissi�s flat in Colnbrook, Berkshire, not far from Heathrow, and arrested him and his wife at gunpoint. The media hailed the arrest in Britain of the first suspects in the global hunt for the men who planned the worst terrorist attacks ever seen. An extradition warrant was issued for Mr Raissi on a �holding charge� that he had failed to disclose a theft conviction on his US immigration application. But in the courts, British lawyers representing the US Government made much more serious allegations.

Mr Raissi, they said, was the �lead instructor� for the hijackers. The courts were told there was evidence that he falsified flight logs to hide the fact he trained Hanjour. Videotape had been found of Hanjour and Mr Raissi together. A notebook said to belong to Abu Doha, a major terrorist suspect, that had been found in London contained Mr Raissi�s phone number.

One by one, over the course of ten court hearings, Mr Raissi�s solicitor proved that the allegations and the evidence to support them were false, if not fabricated.

The accurate flight log was produced and the flying instructor who testified that Mr Raissi and Hanjour had indeed hired the same plane, but at different times. The man in the video was shown to be Mr Raissi�s cousin. It took time, but the address book was clearly shown not to have belonged to Abu Doha.

In February 2002, Mr Raissi was released from Belmarsh jail. But neither the British nor the American authorities were prepared to say they had been mistaken. He remained a suspected terrorist, unable to travel outside Britain except to Algeria.

The appeal court, under the presidency of the Master of the Rolls, said that responsibility for many of the mistakes in the Raissi case lay in Britain. In its judgment that the �primary responsibility for the falsity� over the notebook lay with the Met and the CPS. The judges also found that the false claim about the flight logs could be blamed on either carelessness or incompetence by Scotland Yard.

In a scathing passage of criticism, at the heart of their ruling, the judges said that the extradition proceedings had been abused as a means of keeping Mr Raissi in custody while inquiries were pursued in the US.

The judges said: �We consider that the way in which extradition proceedings were conducted in this country, with opposition to bail based on allegations which appear unfounded in evidence, amounted to an abuse of process.

It had taken the distance of six years and fundamental shifts in attitudes to the events of the War on Terror for a court to look with forensic detachment at what had been done to Mr Raissi.

But the appeal judges found that British police and prosecutors were directly responsible for the events that destroyed the young Algerian�s life. Justice, they told ministers, demanded that the Government compensate as a victim of a miscarriage of justice.

http://business. timesonline. co.uk/tol/ business/ law/article33681 63.ece

Cleared 9/11 suspect eligible for compensation by Matthew Moore and agencies
http://www.telegrap h.co.uk/news/ main.jhtml? xml=/news/ 2008/02/14/ nclaim114. xml

Five Accused �Terrorists� Cleared of All Charges
http://news. bbc.co.uk/ 2/hi/uk_news/ 7242724.stm

911=PNAC, CIA, Mossad
http://www.indymedi a.org.uk/ en/2008/02/ 391518.html

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