Pilot can claim compensation over 9/11 arrest

A pilot wrongly accused of training the 9/11 hijackers is entitled to seek compensation from the government.

The court of appeal ruled today that Lotfi Raissi should be able to seek compensation from the government for his loss of career and earnings, overturning an earlier ruling.

The Ministry of Justice said it was considering an appeal, as estimates put the claim for compensation into the millions.

The Algerian pilot was arrested ten days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and accused of training four of the 19 hijackers.

He was released without charge but later re-arrested on an extradition warrant at the request of the US.

Mr Raissi spent four-and-a-half months at Belmarsh prison before a judge ruled there was no evidence he was linked to terrorism.

He has since been unable to work as a pilot and will now seek compensation for the loss of earnings and training costs, as well as the general effect on his life and health.

Mr Raissi originally applied for compensation in March 2004 under a Home Office scheme for people deprived of liberty because of miscarriages of justice.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “This judgment reverses a decision made by the divisional court in the secretary of state’s favour.

“We are considering its implications and whether or not to appeal.”