Passengers can challenge no-fly list


Bob Egelko
The San Francisco Chronicle
August 21, 2009

[efoods]Critics of the government’s secret no-fly list scored a potentially important victory Monday when a federal appeals court ruled that would-be passengers can ask a judge and jury to decide whether their inclusion on the list violates their rights.

In a 2-1 ruling, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco reinstated a suit by a former Stanford University student who was detained and handcuffed in 2005 as she was about to board a plane to her native Malaysia.

The ruling is apparently the first to allow a challenge to the no-fly list to proceed in a federal trial court, said the plaintiff’s lawyer, Marwa Elzankaly.

The decision would allow individuals to demand information from the government, present evidence on why they should not have been on the list, and take the case to a jury, Elzankaly said.

The ruling means that “someone who finds it’s likely that their name has been placed on a government watch list will get their day in court,” Elzankaly said.

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