Cleared Man Says FBI Targeted him as Muslim

A federal court yesterday threw out the case against an Oregon lawyer arrested in connection with the Madrid train bombings, citing a fingerprint-identification error by the FBI.

Brandon Mayfield, a convert to Islam, called his time behind bars "humiliating" and "embarrassing" and said he was targeted because of his faith.

"I am a Muslim, an American, and an ex-officer of the U.S. military," he said at a news conference. "I believe I was singled out and discriminated against, I feel as a Muslim."

Mayfield, 37, was released from custody last week, but not altogether cleared then. The government said he remained a "material witness" and restricted his movements. The restrictions were lifted yesterday.

"Due to the misidentification by the FBI of a fingerprint, the court orders the material witness proceeding dismissed," read a statement posted on the U.S. District Court's Web site. "The court orders all property seized to be returned to the material witness."

Mayfield, a former Army lieutenant, was arrested May 6 after FBI agents raided his Oregon home. FBI officials said his fingerprint matched one found on a bag of detonators near the train station in Madrid in the March 11 bombing, which killed 191 people and injured 2,000 others. But last week Spanish authorities said the fingerprints of an Algerian man were on the bag...

The bombings have been blamed on Islamic militants with possible links to al-Qaida…

Steven Wax, the public defender who represented Mayfield, said that an FBI computer likely returned a number of possible fingerprint matches, and that his client could have been singled out because he is Muslim. "It's a major civil rights issue," he said...


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