Posner on Arar v. Ashcroft

Of recent concern is the United States government’s practice of  “extraordinary rendition,” which involves detaining a person on United States soil and transferring that person to a foreign nation to be tortured for information in ways that would be illegal if done inside the . Steve C. Posner discusses the case of Arar v. Ashcroft, 414 F. Supp. 2d 250 (E.D. N.Y. 2006), in which Plaintiff alleged that he was detained following a stopover at John F. Kennedy airport, deemed to be a member of Al Qaeda, and handed over to Syria where he was tortured for 10 months before being released to Canadian Embassy officials in Damascus. After summarizing the case, Mr. Posner writes:


In Arar, no FTCA claim was raised but such a claim regarding Arar’s overseas torture might have survived on the merits, although the claims actually alleged failed. The practitioner should consider an FTCA claim because 28 U.S.C. § 2679 provides that the FTCA (28 U.S.C. §§ 2671-2680) is the exclusive remedy for a claim of damages arising from any “negligent or wrongful act or omission of any employee of the Government while acting within the scope of his office or employment.” § 2679(b)(1). The coverage of this statute is broad; courts have found even vicious conduct to be within the scope of employment.


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