Government Settles Case Charging Abuse of Post-9/11 Detainees
The U.S. government has agreed to pay a total of $1.26 million dollars to five men who claim they were illegally detained and mistreated after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, as part of a settlement agreement reached between the Justice Department and the Center for Constitutional Rights.
The men had brought the case, Turkmen v. Ashcroft, claiming that they were wrongly arrested as suspected terrorists based on racial profiling by immigration officials. They claim they were abused in detention in New York, and held for months after they were no longer suspected of being terrorists. As is usually the case with a settlement, the government did not admit wrongdoing. However, the government in 2007 charged several guards at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where the men were detained, with prisoner abuse.
Another case that had similarly charged abuse of prisoners after Sept. 11, Iqbal v. Ashcroft, was dismissed by a divided Supreme Court in May on the grounds that the plaintiffs there had not alleged sufficient facts of discrimination based on race, ethnicity or religion. Lawyers in the Turkmen case at the time said that they’d had more opportunity to collect evidence supporting their case because the district court had allowed it to move forward.
Two more men who are plainitffs in the Turkmen suit did not reach an agreement with the government and will continue to pursue the case. CCR is also asking the court for permission to add five more plaintiffs to the case.
JURIST has more details.