Wrongly arrested brother of 9/11 suspect wins damages for wrong arrest

The brother of a pilot wrongly accused of training the 11 September 2001 hijackers has succeeded in a High Court bid to win damages for wrongful arrest.

Mohamed Raissi, whose brother Lotfi was the first person accused of taking part in the attacks in New York and Washington, secured victory after claiming he was falsely imprisoned and unlawfully arrested days after the attacks.

Mr Justice McCombe ruled in favour of Mohamed Raissi yesterday, announcing that "there will be judgment in his favour for damages to be assessed".

But a similar claim by his brother's wife, Sonia, was rejected. Mrs Raissi and Mohamed Raissi were each seeking damages in excess of 150,000 in the action.

Lotfi Raissi was arrested 10 days after 11 September following an extradition request from the United States. He and his wife were living in Colnbrook, Berkshire, at the time. He was released in February 2002 and a judge ruled that there was "no evidence" that he was connected to the 11 September attacks or any form of terrorism. His wife and brother were also arrested. Mrs Raissi, a French-born dancer who was working as an Air France customer service agent at Heathrow Airport, was released without charge after five days.

Mohamed Raissi, now 35, was arrested at his home in Hounslow and held for about 42 hours before also being released without charge. The Metropolitan Police denied liability and were granted permission to appeal.

In February, Lotfi Raissi lost his High Court battle for compensation after judges said it did not qualify for an award despite being held for nearly five months at Belmarsh Prison.

Yesterday Mr Justice McCombe said the only issue in each case "is as to the reasonableness or otherwise" of the grounds on which each of the arresting officers acted. He said the question to be answered was: "Assuming the officer had the necessary suspicion was there reasonable cause for suspicion?"

In the case of Mrs Raissi, he ruled that the factors that the arresting officer had in mind "amply justified the arrest". He said: "She had been with him in a foreign country at a time when he might well have been thought to have been engaged, at the same time and at the same location, in the very training which was being undergone by one of the known perpetrators of the atrocities."

Mr Justice McCombe ruled that Mohamed Raissi's case was "quite different" although he said he had "not the slightest doubt" that the officer acted in "a professional manner". He said: "He was simply thought to be the close brother of a major suspect and the two lived geographically fairly close to each other; each had access to the home of the other in this country." The judge ruled: "In my judgment those grounds were not sufficient to justify the arrest."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test