News

Supreme Court takes suit than in 2001, the detention of Muslims

  • Ahmer Abassi talks with the Associated Press in Karachi, Pakistan, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. The Supreme Court on Wednesday is hearing an appeal by former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former FBI Director Robert Mueller and the other former AMERICAN officials who want to shut down a lawsuit filed by human rights lawyers. The legal case on behalf of Muslim men who were detained in a federal prison in Brooklyn after Sept. 11 attacks. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

    (Associated Press)

  • Ahmer Abassi talks with the Associated Press in Karachi, Pakistan, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. The Supreme Court on Wednesday is hearing an appeal by former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former FBI Director Robert Mueller and the other former AMERICAN officials who want to shut down a lawsuit filed by human rights lawyers. The legal case on behalf of Muslim men who were detained in a federal prison in Brooklyn after Sept. 11 attacks. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

    (Associated Press)

Previous
Following

WASHINGTON – Ahmer Abbasi talks softly as he describes the strip searches, the extra shoves, the curses that he has to endure in a federal prison in Brooklyn next Sept. 11 attacks.

“I don’t think I deserved it,” Abbasi said during a telephone interview with The Associated Press from his home in Karachi, Pakistan.

Abbasi is the quiet, matter-of-fact tone belies his determination, even after 15 years, to seek justice in the American court, provided that the Supreme court will let him.

The judges on Wednesday hearing an appeal from former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former FBI Director Robert Mueller and the other former AMERICAN officials who aspires to the conclusion of the trial, which human rights lawyers have filed on behalf of Abbasi and others about their cruel treatment, and prolonged detention.

“Someone has to be accountable to, someone must be responsible,” says Abbasi, 42, who works in the real estate sector in Pakistan.

The former officials, including some of the top immigration-enforcement officer, and the director and deputy director of the New York City jail, say it should not be.

“High officials should not be regularly second-guessed by lawsuits seeking money damages from them in their personal capacity,” said Richard Samp, chief counsel at the Washington Legal Foundation and author of a brief of four former attorneys-general.

Abbasi was among more than 80 men who were arrested in the days and weeks after Sept. 11 on immigration violations. Until then, he said that he was “living the American dream” since his arrival from Pakistan in 1993. He lived in Jersey City, New Jersey, just across the river from Manhattan and driving a taxi in New York.

He acknowledges he remained in the United States after he had to leave and that he entered into a fraudulent marriage so that he could get a coveted “green card” that would allow him to stay in the united states legally. He would have never been caught, except for the terrorist attacks and the aggressive reaction of officials who wanted to make sure that there is no follow-on strikes.

When he was arrested in September 2001, Abbasi said, he immediately admitted he was illegally in the netherlands and he took would be quickly deported. Instead, he was held for nearly 11 months, including more than four months in the most restrictive conditions. He was strip-searched often, and may be cell is not more than a few hours per day. He was deported in August 2002.

The Ministry of Justice, the inspector general produced two reports detailing problems with the arrests. The government settled an earlier suit, in which five other men for $1.2 million.

Rachel Meeropol of the Center for Constitutional Rights will say that the Supreme court in the case. Meeropol said that the men whom they represent, were arrested without any evidence linking it to terrorism because they fit in a profile in the enforcement of the law in the eyes. “They were a group of individuals who looked how she imagined the hijackers looked,” Meeropol said.

A divided panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said that the men were detained “as they were terrorists, in the most restrictive conditions of confinement is available, simply because these individuals were, or seemed to be, Arab or Muslim.”

The court of appeal said that the suit could go forward because “the suffering endured by those who were taken captive, just because they were caught up in the hysteria of the days immediately after 9/11 is not without a remedy.”

The case stems from a class-action suit originally filed in 2002. It is the third time that the judicial intervention in lawsuits against Ashcroft and others of the Muslims who were arrested in the US after the 2001 attacks. The judges have two times to the side of Ashcroft.

The chance that the court will this time be different a long time, especially since there are only six judges to take part. Justice Sonia Sotomayor was a member of the New York-based federal court of appeals, who heard an earlier version of the case, and Justice Elena Kagan worked on the issue as they served in the Justice Department. A seat in the nine members of the high court has been empty ever since Justice Antonin Scalia died in February.

Four judges — a majority of the participants on Wednesday voted to limit the ability to sue Ashcroft in the two previous cases.

Abbasi said he harbors no anger toward the United States. If there is anything, he misses his time there. His brother is an American citizen and his cousin recently graduated from Penn State.

He said that he tried to get a visa to attend the high court hearing. “I was denied for a certain reason,” Abbasi said. So also were others who sought visas, Meeropol said.

Follow us

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people and making new friends.

Most popular