British Court Grants Bail to Algerian on U.S. Extradition Request

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Monday, April 1, 2002
Bruce Zagaris
On February 12, 2002, British Magistrate Timothy Workman granted bail to Lotfi Raissi, 27, a pilot whose extradition the U.S. has requested for his role in assisting the September 11 hijackers after the U.S. fail to show evidence supporting its terrorism charge. The U.S. has filed an extradition request for Raissi after the British Government arrested him on September 21, 2002, alleging that he trained Hani Hanjour, who law enforcement officials believe piloted American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon. In December 2001, U.S. Attorney General John D. Ashcroft publicly for Raissi’s extradition for his role in the September 11 attacks. The U.S. believes it will be able to produce stronger evidence against Raissi linking him to the September 11 terrorism incidents. However during the six court hearing since Riassi’s arrest, the U.S. has not offered any tangible evidence connecting Raissi with the terrorist attacks. British prosecutor James Lewis representing the U.S. Government asked that Raissi be detained even though the U.S. was not ready to provide evidence against Raissi, arguing that he surely would try to flee if he were given bail. Magistrate Workman disagreed. Richard Egan, Raissi’s attorney, said the hearing proved the U.S. has no case. Magistrate Workman released Raissi on bail equivalent to about $ 15,000. Police will retain his passport.