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High court rejects appeal in rendition case

June 14, 2010

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WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a Canadian engineer who was caught up in the U.S. government's secret transfer of terror suspects to other countries.

The court did not comment Monday in ending Syrian-born Maher Arar's quest to sue top U.S. officials, including former Attorney General John Ashcroft. Arar says he was mistaken for a terrorist when he was changing planes in New York on his way home to Canada, a year after the 2001 terrorist attacks. He was instead sent to Syria, where he claims he was tortured.

Lower courts dismissed Arar's lawsuit, which asserts the U.S. purposely sent him to Syria to be tortured. Syria has denied he was tortured.

The Canadian government agreed to pay Arar $10 million and apologized to him for its role in the case.

A Canadian investigation found that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police wrongly labeled Arar an Islamic fundamentalist and passed misleading and inaccurate information to U.S. authorities.

The inquiry determined that Arar was tortured, and it cleared him of any terrorist links or suspicions.