Lotfi Raissi Was Detained Following 9/11
An Algerian pilot who was among
hundreds of "persons of interest" detained in the aftermath of the
9/11 terrorist attacks won the right this week to sue the British
government for wrongful imprisonment.
Reuters reports Lotfi Raissi, 33, was accused by US authorities
of being linked to Hani Hanjour, the terrorist believed to have
been at the control as American 77 flew into the Pentagon. He was
arrested in London 10 days after the attacks, and held in the
high-security Belmarsh prison.
He was released in 2002, after the allegations were proven false
-- and as US authorities fought for extradition. To this day,
Raissi claims, he remains blacklisted from any jobs with an
As ANN reported, Raissi sued
the US government in 2003 for damages; that case is still pending.
In February 2007, the British government rejected a separate claim
for compensation, that Raissi filed in 2004.
On Thursday, the Court of Appeal in London agreed Raissi had a
valid complaint, and ordered the government to reconsider the
compensation claim... calling the way extraditions and refusal of
bail were conducted in the days after 9/11 were "an abuse of
In addition to compensation, Raissi says he wants a public
apology from the British government.
"I want a widely publicized apology for the part that they
played. I am not a terrorist, I abhor terrorism," he told BBC
television. In a separate interview with Channel 4, Raissi said he
has "been through an appalling tragedy... I have been struggling
for the last six years and-a-half.
"I suffered a great injustice," he added. "I believe I can
restore my life and go back to aviation and get on with my
But whether Raissi will actually collect any money, or
retribution, is open for speculation. Following the appeals court
ruling, the Ministry of Justice said it might, in turn, appeal the