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Muslims join in FOIA request on detainees

Muslims join in FOIA request on detainees

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today joined with a coalition of other human rights organizations in filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for information about the hundreds of Muslims and Arabs who have been detained since the terrorist attacks of September 11. These groups say government officials have been reluctant to release information about those being held. The coalition’s letter to the Department of Justice requested:

1. The identities of each such individual, the circumstances of their detention or arrest, and any charges brought against them, including their names and addresses.

3. The identities of any courts, which have been requested to enter orders sealing any proceedings in connection with any of these individuals, any such orders which have been entered, and the legal authorities that the government has relied upon in seeking any such secrecy orders.

4. All policy directives or guidance issued to officials about making public statements or disclosures about these individuals or about the sealing of judicial or immigration proceedings”¦

Media reports indicate that almost 1,000 people have been detained, though some have been released. Fewer than 10 of the detainees are suspected of having demonstrable ties to the terrorist attacks, and human rights advocates such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have questioned whether law enforcement authorities are abusing their authority.

“As we pursue those responsible for the horrific crimes of September 11, we should not violate our own standards of human rights or due process of law. It is through maintaining standards of justice that we will demonstrate to the world that freedom and security are not incompatible concepts,” said CAIR Governmental Affairs Director Jason Erb.

Groups sponsoring the letter include: American Civil Liberties Union, American Friends Service Committee, American Immigration Lawyers Association, American Immigration Law Foundation, American Muslim Council, Amnesty International USA, Arab American Institute, Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, Center for Constitutional Rights, Center for Democracy and Technology, Center for National Security Studies, Council on American Islamic Relations, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Electronic Privacy Information Center, Federation of American Scientists, First Amendment Foundation, Human Rights Watch, Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, OMB
Watch, The Nation Magazine


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