[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] reached a settlement [press release] Thursday in a case against the US government challenging the constitutionality of detaining Muslim men as material witnesses without sufficient cause. The case alleged that following the 9/11 terrorist attacks the US government implemented a discriminatory practice of imprisoning Muslim men based on race, religion and nationality in violation of the Fourth Amendment [text]. Abdullah al-Kidd, a US citizen, was offered compensation in the amount of $385,000 as part of the settlement. The US government also offered an apology for subjecting al-Kidd to the the traumatic experience. The settlement was reached almost 10 years after [case timeline] the suit was filed. The case was reviewed by the US Supreme Court [JURIST report] and a the federal court of appeals on two separate occasions. Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, expressed his hope that the settlement and the public documentation of the government’s actions will, “hopefully deter future such abuses.”
The US government’s actions following the 9/11 terrorist attacks [JURIST backgrounder] have given rise to various controversial human rights concerns. Last month Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law, Sulaiman abu Ghaith, was found guilty [JURIST report] by a federal court in New York of conspiring to kill Americans in the attacks, making him the highest ranking al Qaeda figure to be tried on US soil. The court found him guilty despite a statement [JURIST report] by alleged 9/11 conspirator Khalid Sheikh Mohammed claiming that Ghaith had nothing to do with the attacks.