At a Glance
On June 17, 2015, the Second Circuit ruled in CCR’s favor, reinstating claims against high-level officials.
Covington & Burling LLP, Michael Winger
Ibrahim Turkmen, Akil Sachveda, Anser Mehmood, Benamar Benatta, Ahmed Khalifa, Saeed Hammouda, Purna Bajracharya, Ahmer Abbasi
Turkmen v. Ashcroft is a civil rights lawsuit filed in 2002 on behalf of a class of Muslim, South Asian, and Arab non-citizens swept up by the INS and FBI in connection to the 9/11 investigation. Based solely on their race, religion, ethnicity and immigration status, hundreds of men were detained as “terrorism suspects” and held in brutal detention conditions for the many months it took the FBI and CIA to clear them of any connection to terrorism. They were then deported.
The case seeks to hold accountable high-level Bush administration officials, including former-Attorney General John Ashcroft and former-FBI Director Robert Mueller, for their role in ordering racial and religious profiling and abuse in detention, in violation of the detainees’ rights under the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution. Plaintiffs were held in a specially-created Administrative Maximum Special Housing Unit (ADMAX SHU), in solitary confinement. They were purposefully deprived of sleep, denied contact with the outside world, beaten and verbally abused, and denied the ability to practice their religion. The former-wardens and other Metropolitan Detention Center officials who oversaw this abuse have also been named in the case.
In addition to compensatory and punitive damages sought by the plantiffs, Turkmen v. Ashcroft fits into CCR’s larger fight for immigrant rights, government accountability, and against illegal detentions and prisoner abuse.