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CAIR Welcomes Federal Judge’s Landmark Ruling Extending Right to Sue Federal Officials

(WASHINGTON, DC, 3/4/2019) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today applauded a decision by a federal judge at the United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan that extends federal rights to sue U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers for confinement conditions at the border.

In 2017, CAIR filed a lawsuit against CBP officers on behalf of an American Muslim student who was subjected to “white torture” and subsequent denial of medical treatment in Detroit, Mich.

[NOTE: “White torture” is a form of physical and psychological torture that involves extreme sensory deprivation and insolation. The United States has been accused previously of using white torture against prisoners at its Guantanamo Bay detention camp.]

When attempting to return to the United States through the Ambassador Bridge Port of Entry, the Muslim student was handcuffed and isolated in a freezing cold cell with bright lights without his jacket and shoes. Despite his repeated pleas for medical treatment, it was not until after he suffered from shock and hypothermia, that the CBP officers finally called for an ambulance to take him to the hospital, only to be handcuffed to the ambulance bed.

SEE: CAIR Files Suit on Behalf of American Muslim Subjected to ”˜White Torture’ at U.S. Port of Entry  

“[T]here is no plausible national-security interest in placing a person in a room so cold that he develops hypothermia within a matter of hours, and Defendant’s refusal to offer any kind of explanation speaks volumes,” wrote U.S. District Judge Mark A. Goldsmith in his order.  “By claiming national security and refusing to offer any kind of justification for that claim, Defendants essentially seek immunity for any CBP action taken against a United States citizen at the border.”


“We applaud the judge’s landmark decision that holds CBP officers accountable for intentionally subjecting our client — who was merely passing through the border to return home — to cruel and unusual punishment,” said CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

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CONTACT: CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas, 720-251-0425,; CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri, 202-742-6420,; CAIR Director of Maryland Outreach Zainab Chaudry, 410-971-6062,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,

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