Pilot wrongly jailed in Britain over 9/11 attacks can seek compensation, court rules

An Algerian-born pilot wrongly jailed in Britain on accusations that he trained the Sept. 11 hijackers won the right Friday to challenge for compensation.

An appeal hearing at London's High Court granted Raissi the right to challenge a government decision that he was not eligible for compensation.

Lotfi Raissi, 32, was arrested near London's Heathrow Airport shortly after the 2001 attacks, having been indicted by a federal grand jury in Arizona.

United States prosecutors described him as a prime suspect in the 9/11 case, claiming he offered pilot training to the hijackers.

But a British judge refused to extradite Raissi to face trial and released him from custody, claiming there was no evidence to link him with terrorism.

The former commercial pilot was told last year by Britain's Home Office interior ministry he was not eligible for compensation for his 4Ѕ month detention, as he waited for the decision on a U.S. request to extradite him.

"My life has been destroyed. I chose to become an airline pilot, I worked hard for it and I starved for it," Raissi said outside court, following the hearing.

"But the reality is that because of my profile of being Algerian, Muslim, Arabic and an airline pilot, I suffered this miscarriage of justice."

He said he hoped British Home Secretary would take the court's decision "very seriously and think again."

Raissi was arrested on Sept. 23 2001 and held until February 2002, when he was released on bail pending the outcome of the extradition hearing in April that year.

Appeal judge Duncan Ouseley ruled that a compensation scheme for those wrongfully held in British custody should apply to extradition cases and said Raissi was entitled to a full hearing, reports AP.

O.Ch.

Subscribe to Pravda.Ru Telegram channel, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, RSS!

Author`s name Editorial Team