2006/01/24

Detained Muslims return seeking justice

There are of course many things we do not, and may never, know about the policy of detaining Muslim men after 9-11 and which continued for far, far too long after that. The United States Justice Department needs to explain especially, why the detainees from New York City were kept imprisoned for such an extended period of time:


At a closed immigration hearing on Nov. 20 [2001], three weeks after their arrest, the brothers agreed to immediate deportation. By Dec. 7, the lawsuit says, F.B.I. memos stated that clearance checks on the Ibrahims had shown no links to terrorism. But they were held six more months - Hany until May 29, 2002, and Yasser until June 6.



After they were detained in the wake of 9-11, they have charged that:



Physical abuse, the lawsuit says, began the moment they arrived, chained and shackled. As Yasser described it, guards supervised by Lieutenant Pray slammed his brother face-first into a wall where an American flag T-shirt had been taped, then did the same to him.

Pain became part of the brothers' daily routine, the lawsuit charges. Escort teams cursing them as Muslims and terrorists slammed them into every available wall when they were taken from their cells, twisted their wrists and fingers, and stepped on their leg chains so that they fell, their ankles bruised and bloody, according to the suit.



None of this sounds as calculated or depraved as the tortures of Abu Ghraib and other locatons discovered later were and:



The Federal Bureau of Prisons has fired two detention officers, suspended two for 30 days and demoted one in connection with the Brooklyn inquiry, said Traci Billingsley, a bureau spokeswoman.



Which appears to justify the oft-stated faith of the returned former detainees that America is a land of justice and fair play. Nevertheless, the lawyer for the men sounds as though she has it right when she claims:



"The kind of torture, interrogation and arbitrary detention that we now associate with Guantánamo and secret C.I.A. facilities really started right here, in Brooklyn."



Back during the good old days, back when Americans could have pride in their country, justice for those who were accused of crimes was taken quite seriously:



Here is the story [of the Boston Masscre] as Paul Revere tells it. "Twenty-one days before, on the night of March 5,1770, five men had been shot to death in Boston by British soldiers participating in the event known as the Boston Massacre. A mob of men and boys taunted a sentry guard standing outside of the city's costume house.When other British soldiers came to the sentry's support, a free for all ensued and shots were fired into the crowd. Four died on the spot and a fifth died 4 days later. Capt. Preston and six of his men were arrested for murder, but later were acquitted through the efforts of attorneys Robert Auchmuty, John Adams, and Josiah Quincy who took their defense to ensure a fair trial. Later two other soldiers were found guilty of manslaughter." [emphasis added]



Sigh! Those were the days.

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