Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Human Rights Watch Reports Scores of Muslim Men Jailed Without Charge

Justice Department Misused Material Witness Law in Counterterrorism Efforts

(New York, June 27, 2005)—Operating behind a wall of secrecy, the U.S. Department of Justice thrust scores of Muslim men living in the United States into a Kafkaesque world of indefinite detention without charge and baseless accusations of terrorist links, Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union said in a report released today.

Haste, incompetence and prejudice played a role in these detentions. Muslim men were arrested for little more than attending the same mosque as a September 11 hijacker or owning a box-cutter.
Anjana Malhotra, the report’s author and Aryeh Neier fellow at Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union

Following the September 11 attacks, the Justice Department held the 70 men—all but one Muslim—under a narrow federal law that permits the arrest and brief detention of “material witnesses” who have important information about a crime, if they might otherwise flee to avoid testifying before a grand jury or in court. Although federal officials suspected the men of involvement in terrorism, they held them as material witnesses, not criminal suspects.

Almost half of the witnesses were never brought before a grand jury or court to testify. The U.S. government has apologized to 13 for wrongfully detaining them. Only a handful were ever charged with crimes related to terrorism.

...for more go to the link above.

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