A Muslim attorney from Oregon, held for two weeks, often manacled and chained, as a material witness in the March 11 train bombing in Spain, was cleared on Monday with an apology from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“Hamdullilah, thank God I’m here,” 37 year-old Brandon Mayfield told a packed press conference.
Mayfield, who was released on Friday, had been held under the 1984 material witness law because Spanish authorities and the Federal Bureau of Investigation had thought that a single fingerprint on a bag with detonators found near a Madrid train station matched his print.
But the Federal District Court said on Monday that “he was the victim of a misidentification by the FBI” and at a separate FBI press conference, Robert Jordan, the FBI agent in charge of the Oregon office, apologized to Mayfield and his family for the hardships his detention has caused.
“We are not investigating Brandon Mayfield at this point,” Jordan said.
Surrounded by his wife and three children, Mayfield described his imprisonment as “humiliating and embarrassing.”
People held under the material witness act should not be thrown in with convicted criminals awaiting sentencing and people arrested for probable cause of committing crimes, he said.
“During my incarceration I was often manacled and chained,” he said. He declined to say if FBI agents became physical with him when he was arrested.
“People should wake up. We need to start protecting our civil liberties,” Mayfield said, also blasting the Patriot Act. “The material witness statute obviously gives the government too much power and must be amended, if not repealed,” he said…