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Prof's bid to remove name from US terror list
Published on: Wednesday, December 04, 2013

PETALING JAYA: Universiti Putra Malaysia Prof Rahinah Ibrahim's bid to clear her name from the United States' "no-fly" list went to trial Monday at a San Francisco federal court.

It is believed to be the first such challenge on the US government to go to trial, AP reported. Prof Rahinah claimed she was mistakenly placed on the list because she is Muslim, and has fought to clear her name since her arrest at the San Francisco International Airport in January 2005.

As the 48-year-old Stanford graduate has not been allowed to enter the US to testify, her testimony was videotaped in London and shown to US District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco on Monday. The US government has also not publicly said why Prof Rahinah was added to the list, with federal lawyers objecting to the trial for its "unacceptable risk" of revealing classified information on how the Homeland Security programme works, San Jose's Mercury News reported. Alsup, who is hearing the trial without a jury, has ordered the case to move forward despite details being heavily reacted in thousands of court documents.

The unprecedented trial is expected to reveal how the US government assembles the no-fly lists, an airline security measure used in the aftermath of the Sept 11, 2011 terrorist attacks.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the list contains thousands of names of passengers who allegedly pose a risk of terrorism or air piracy.

However, US government audits have found numerous errors since the Homeland Security-maintained list was established a decade ago.

Elizabeth Pipkin, a San Jose lawyer representing Prof Dr Rahinah, told KQED that Prof Rahinah had "never been given any reason why she's been denied the right to travel."

"She has suffered because there's a stigma attached to these lists.

Once you're on them, it's almost impossible to get out," said Pipken to the San Francisco-based public media outlet.

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