[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California (ACLU/SC) [advocacy website] brought a federal class action lawsuit against the US Tuesday on behalf of two immigrants who said they were forcibly drugged with sedatives during deportation proceedings. The ACLU/SC began an investigation [press release] into the alleged incidents soon after the allegations were made. In one incident from December 2004, Rev. Raymond Soeoth, a minister from Indonesia, claims that he was held down by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) [official website] officers and injected with Haldol [Wikipedia backgrounder], a powerful anti-psychotic, despite refusing the medication. Amadou Diouf, a Senegalese man married to a US citizen, was allegedly injected with an unidentified psychotropic drug while resisting an illegal deportation in 2005. Diouf was allegedly drugged while attempting to speak to the pilots, to inform them of his court ordered protection from deportation. Neither of the men have a history of mental illness, and the ACLU/SC alleges the druggings were merely meant to silence them.
Speaking to Reuters, a Los Angeles ICE spokeswoman said that sedatives are only administered to immigrants if authorized by a court, and are not used to facilitate transport. After approximately 2 years in ICE custody, Soeoth and Diouf were both released and remain in the United States. Reuters has more.
Opinions expressed in JURIST Commentary are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of JURIST's editors, staff, donors or the University of Pittsburgh.