Compensation for man accused of training September 11 attackers

A man who was wrongly accused of training the September 11 attackers will be given compensation, the Ministry of Justice confirmed today.

Jack Straw told Algerian Lotfi Raissi he is eligible for a payout and the amount will be decided by independent assessor Lord Brennan QC.



Last month, the Justice Secretary was given 28 days by the Court of Appeal to decide what should happen.



A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "In accordance with the decisions of the Court of Appeal of February 2008 and March 2010, and after careful consideration of all the relevant material available to him, the Justice Secretary, Jack Straw, has notified Mr Raissi that he is eligible for compensation.



"The Independent Assessor, Lord Brennan QC, will now be asked to consider the amount to be paid to Mr Raissi. Ministers play no part in determining the amount."







Mr Raissi told BBC News it was the best day of his life.

He said: "I'm completely exonerated now by the Minister of Justice and I'm delighted.



"My life was destroyed, my career was destroyed. I can't even find the words.



"It was hell for me and for the last nine years."



He said he hoped he can now "turn the page" and reprise his career as a pilot.



Mr Raissi told the broadcaster the battle to clear his name was "not a question about the compensation".



He said: "I was fighting for justice and what I want at the end of it is an apology."











Mr Raissi was arrested in London after the September 11 attacks, following an extradition request from the FBI.

They claimed he had attended flight training with one of the hijackers, and Mr Raissi spent five months in the high security Belmarsh prison before being granted bail.



He was cleared of any involvement in the plot the following year.



According to his solicitors Tuckers, Mr Raissi wrote to Mr Straw in 2004 asking for compensation as a victim of a miscarriage of justice.



The 36-year-old was denied permission to make a claim by the High Court in 2007, but in February 2008 the Court of Appeal found in his favour.







Tuckers issued a statement from Mr Raissi which said: "Jack Straw has now stated that I am 'completely exonerated' having considered all the evidence. I am delighted. I have waited for this for nine years.



"I hope that this Government statement will help get rid of the cloud of suspicion that has hung over my life for so long. I have asked for a meeting with Jack Straw and hope there will be time before the election."



Mr Raissi's solicitor, Jules Carey, said: "The allegations of terrorism were utterly ruinous to him both personally and professionally. Mr Raissi has fought extremely hard to clear his name.



"I believe that the delay in this announcement is because it has been politically difficult for the Justice Secretary to make it. On March 26 the Court of Appeal ordered the Justice Secretary to make a decision by today.



"I sincerely hope that this will mark a new chapter in his life and that his rehabilitation will begin."



James Welch, legal director at human rights charity Liberty, said: "The shabby treatment of this innocent man is a chilling reminder of why we all need the protection of the courts.



"Now that the Extradition Act 2003 is in force, it is terrifying to think that, were Lotfi Raissi to face the same false accusation today he would be packed off to the US without any consideration by our courts of the strength of the case against him."

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on