Friday, July 4, 2008, 11:36am
Today, the majority in a federal Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 against Center for Constitutional Rights client Maher Arar's case against U.S. officials for their role in sending him to Syria to be tortured and interrogated for a year under the extraordinary rendition program.
Maher Arar is not available to comment in person, but is issuing the following statement: "The Court's 2-1 ruling is outrageous. It basically legitimizes what was done to me, and permits the government to use immigration law as a disguise to send people to torture without regard for due process."
The majority ruled that Mr. Arar's constitutional claims that it was a violation of due process to lock him up for two weeks, obstruct his access to a lawyer and a court, and then to ship him to Syria for the purpose of having him interrogated under torture could not be heard in federal court for two reasons. It concluded that adjudicating the claims would interfere with sensitive matters of foreign policy and national security, and that Arar, as a foreigner who had not been formally admitted to the U.S., had no constitutional due process rights with respect to the government's interference with his access to a lawyer and the decision to send him to Syria to be tortured.