Published by The Lawfare Institute
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In what seems to be a first-of-its-kind ruling, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has reinstated claims against former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, and former INS Commissioner James Zigler for their roles in post-9/11 immigration detentions, alledged abuse, and profiling.
The plaintiffs in Turkman v. Ashcroft and other 9/11 detainees were placed in solitary confinement for months on end and abused, even though they were only charged with civil immigration violations like overstaying a visa or working without authorization. Though the government had no reason beyond their race and religion to consider them dangerous, they were detained as “suspected terrorists” until cleared of any connection to terrorism by the FBI, and then deported. Among other documented abuses, many of the 9/11 detainees had their faces smashed into a wall where guards had pinned a t-shirt with a picture of an American flag and the words, “These colors don’t run.” The men were slammed against the t-shirt upon their entrance to MDC and told, “Welcome to America.” The t-shirt was smeared with blood, yet it stayed up on the wall at MDC for months.
In its 109-page decision, the Court rejected the government's national security justification and determined that the five former federal officials named in the complaint are not entiteld to qualified immunity. The ruling drew a lengthy dissent from Judge Reena Raggi.
You can read the full opinion here.