US settles post-Sept. 11 detainee lawsuit

[JURIST] The US government has agreed to a $300,000 settlement of claims by an Egyptian [JURIST report] that he was abused while being detained by US authorities for months following the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The settlement reached with Ehab Elmaghraby is the first reached by the federal government over claims arising from the rounding up of hundreds of mostly Muslim and Arab men [ACLU backgrounder] in New York City and elsewhere in the weeks and months following the attacks, and comes in a case in which a federal judge had previously ruled that top leaders including former US Attorney General John Ashcroft [official profile; JURIST news archive] must testify under oath [JURIST report]. The government has argued that the attacks had created a national emergency that required special action to avoid future attacks. Elmaghraby, one of two plaintiffs in the suit, alleged that he was detained and mistreated for nearly a year before being deported on immigration grounds.

The second plaintiff in the suit, Pakistani Javaid Iqbal, is continuing with his claims, while a second case involving a class action is also pending before US District Judge John Gleeson [official profile]. A US Department of Justice report issued last spring [JURIST report] found that no prison officials were disciplined in connection with an earlier report [text] finding routine abuse by guards at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, NY, where many were held on immigration charges following the Sept. 11 attacks. The settlement must be approved by Judge Gleeson before taking effect. Nina Bernstein of the New York Times has more [registration required].

 

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