'Tortured' Rendition Victim Told He Can't Sue

Canadian sent to Syria plans to appeal
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2009 4:01 AM CST
Maher Arar talks with reporters in Ottawa in 2007.   (AP Photo/Tom Hanson, The Canadian Press)

(Newser) – A Canadian citizen sent to Syria after being mistakenly arrested at JFK Airport cannot sue US authorities, a court has ruled. Maher Arar, who says he was tortured during the year he was held in Syrian custody, was told by a New York court that it has no legal right to intervene in the case, the BBC reports. The court ruled that only Congress has the authority to decide whether victims of "extraordinary" rendition could be awarded damages.

"In simple terms, today’s decision means that US government’s agents can commit human rights violations in any part of the world and the courts will always find a legal justification for these agents to escape accountability," said Arar. "I am afraid to say that these courts have lost the purpose of their existence.” His lawyers plan to appeal the case to the Supreme Court.