Man wrongly accused over 9/11 loses court battle
LONDON (Reuters) - An Algerian pilot who spent four years in a British jail wrongly accused of training some of the September 11 suicide plane hijackers, lost a legal bid to win compensation from the government on Thursday.
Lotfi Raissi, 32, was arrested in Britain 10 days after the attacks on New York and Washington in 2001 and held in a top security prison, accused of having trained four of the 19 hijackers involved in the plot.
A High Court judge ruled that Raissi, who lives in west London, was not eligible for compensation that is provided for victims of miscarriages of justice.
His lawyers had argued that Raissi had suffered loss of liberty, distress and psychiatric injury as a result of his arrest, and that the Home Office's refusal to compensate him breached his human rights.
"My life has been destroyed. I cannot earn a respectable living," Raissi told BBC television after the verdict, adding that he had been blacklisted from all airline jobs.
"I will appeal this decision to the court of appeal."
Raissi was originally held under the country's anti-terrorism laws but was later re-arrested under an extradition warrant from the United States.
This alleged he had failed to disclose information on his application to renew his pilot's licence with the Federal Aviation Authority in Arizona in June 2001, by lying on a medical form and not disclosing a conviction for theft.
He was later cleared of wrongdoing in extradition proceedings in front of a judge, who said U.S. officials had failed to present any evidence to back up accusations that he had links to terrorism.
The High Court ruled that Raissi's claim for compensation related to the extradition proceedings, so was not covered by the Home Office scheme.
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