In the days after the attacks of September 11, 2001, hundreds of Muslim, Arab, and South Asian men were swept up by the INS and the FBI based on nothing more than their race, religion, ethnicity, and immigration status.
They were held in solitary confinement, in a specially created Supermax housing unit, and physically and psychologically abused.
Center for Constitutional Rights October 11, 2016
Turkmen v. Ashcroft names both the former Bush administration officials – including Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and INS Commissioner James Ziglar – and the prison officials who directly oversaw the abuse as defendants. The district court had allowed only the claims against the prison officials to move forward. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the claims against the high-level officials.
The questions before the Supreme Court include whether John Ashcroft and other top officials responsible for the round ups can be sued for breaking the law, as well as whether the Constitution prohibits placing people in ultra-restrictive conditions of confinement based only on their race and religion.
For over 14 years, CCR has insisted that no one is above the law, no matter how exalted their role. The appeals court agreed, saying, “The suffering endured by those who were imprisoned merely because they were caught up in the hysteria of the days immediately following 9/11 is not without a remedy.”
CCR’s dogged pursuit of this case, filed in 2002, has been possible only because of the loyal support of CCR donors. If it were not for your commitment to righting the wrongs suffered by those rounded up after 9/11, we would not today be on our way to argue before the Supreme Court and indeed the entire nation that John Ashcroft must be held accountable for his actions.
Thank you for making this day possible.
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