Yesterday, Judge David Trager of the Eastern District of New York threw out a suit filed by a Canadian citizen who was arrested by U.S. authorities at John F. Kennedy airport in 2002 and sent to Syria to be interrogated. The plaintiff, Maher Arar, was suspected by the U.S. government of being a member of al Qaeda. He spent ten months in a Syrian jail, where he claimed he was tortured. Arar also said he was tortured in detention at Kennedy Airport. The United States government has never filed any charges against him.
With the assistance of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Arar filed suit against former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and several other officials. In his 88-page ruling, Judge Trager said that the courts could not interfere with national security or in matters of foreign relations. However, Trager did invite Arar to resubmit his claim that he had been denied due process because of the conditions of his imprisonment.
Barbara Olshanksy, Deputy Legal Director with the Center for Constitutional Rights, said " We will not accept this decision and are committed to continuing our campaign to obtain the truth about what happened to Maher and demand accountability on behalf of the Administration."