The U.S. government is urging the Supreme Court to reject an appeal from Canada’s Maher Arar, who wants to sue Washington for sending him to Syria where he was tortured.
The Ottawa engineer was the victim of what’s known as “extraordinary rendition” _ a much-maligned American policy of knowingly sending terrorism suspects to other countries that practise torture.
The Syrian-born Canadian was detained in September 2002 at Kennedy International Airport as he changed planes on his way to Montreal after vacationing in Tunisia.
He was suspected of having ties to al-Qaida, and was held and interrogated in New York for almost two weeks before being sent not to Canada, his home, but to Syria, the country of his birth.
An American federal court ruled last November that Arar cannot sue the U.S. government since U.S. Congress has yet to authorize any such lawsuits.
U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration says in court papers filed Wednesday in Washington that lower courts were right to dismiss Arar’s lawsuit.
Arar, who spent a year in Syrian confinement, was finally released in 2003, and Canadian officials say he had no involvement in terrorism.
Syria has denied Arar was tortured. Ottawa agreed to pay him $10.5 million after acknowledging it had passed bad information to U.S. authorities.