[Ppnews] Bureau of Prisons Disciplines Officers from Metropolitan Detention Center Three Years Later

Political Prisoner News PPnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jan 23 12:46:24 EST 2006


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Bureau of Prisons Disciplines Officers from 
Metropolitan Detention Center Three Years Later
January 23, 2006, New York, NY – The unusual 
depositions of four men suing the U.S. government 
for unlawful imprisonment and abuse in the wake 
of the September 11 attacks began this morning, 
according to their attorneys at the Center for 
Constitutional Rights.  CCR’s class action, 
Turkmen v. Ashcroft, was filed in September 2002 
to challenge the arbitrary detention and 
mistreatment of immigration detainees by prison 
guards and high level Bush Administration 
officials.  With no evidence of any connection to 
terrorism, hundreds of Arab and South Asian 
Muslim men were rounded up on the basis of racial 
and religious profiling and subject to unlawful 
detention and abuse at the Metropolitan Detention 
Center in Brooklyn, NY.  All of the men were 
eventually deported, but after long and 
complicated negotiations, four of the plaintiffs 
have returned under strict conditions to 
participate in their case against the government. 
The depositions will take place over the next two 
weeks in New York City.  Further depositions of 
both plaintiffs and defendants will take place in the coming months.

In the Turkmen suit, CCR challenges the 
unconstitutional detention of non-citizens 
arrested on civil immigration charges but held 
for investigation into potential ties to 
terrorism long after their immigration issues 
were resolved and until they could be cleared of 
any connection to terrorism.  The suit describes 
the inhumane and degrading treatment they 
suffered, including solitary confinement, a 
complete blackout on communication with their 
families and attorneys, excessive strip searches, 
severe beatings by guards, incessant verbal 
abuse, and deliberate interference with their religious practices.

The four men, Yasser Ebrahim, Asif-ur-Rehman 
Saffi, Hany Ibrahim and Ashraf Ibrahim, will be 
barred from speaking to anyone outside of the 
case while they are here, including family 
members and friends in the U.S and the content of 
their .  They will be deposed by attorneys from 
the Department of Justice, and attorneys for the 
individual defendants named in the suit.

Despite the fact that the allegations of inhumane 
and degrading treatment have been substantiated 
by two reports of the Justice Department’s Office 
of the Inspector General, discipline has been 
slow in coming from the Federal Bureau of 
Prisons.  Department of Justice Inspector General 
Glenn Fine, testifying before Congress in June 
2005, criticized the long delay and urged 
expeditious and appropriate action in 
disciplining at least 10 of those 
responsible.  Today, the Center for 
Constitutional Rights welcomed news that 
disciplinary actions had finally been taken by 
the Bureau of Prisons:  so far, in December 2005 
and January 2006, five men from the Metropolitan 
Detention Center (MDC) have been disciplined for 
their role in the abuse:   two were terminated, 
two were suspended for 30 days, and one was 
demoted.  More actions may be pending.

CCR Legal Director Bill Goodman said, “Our 
clients have returned to the U.S. to fight for 
justice.  They were deprived of their rights and 
abused simply because of their ethnicity and 
religion, and we at the Center for Constitutional 
Rights are determined to challenge the unlawful 
actions of those responsible.  Former Attorney 
General Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller 
were among the architects of the plan to deprive 
these individuals of their rights, and we plan to 
hold them accountable in this lawsuit.”

CCR attorney Rachel Meeropol said, “To our 
knowledge, there has never before been a case 
where immigrants who had been deported were 
allowed to return to the country to participate 
in a lawsuit, and we look forward to using their 
time here to strengthen our case against defendants.”

“While the three-year delay in taking 
disciplinary action remains a major concern, we 
commend the Bureau of Prisons for finally 
disciplining some of the guards who participated 
in this outrageous abuse,” said CCR attorney 
Matthew Strugar. “It means a lot to our clients 
that finally someone is being held accountable 
for the brutality they experienced, but we 
believe the responsibility for these abuses goes 
further up the chain of command at the Bureau of 
Prisons and we are disappointed more individuals 
have not yet been held accountable.  ”

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