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Muslim, Arab, South Asian 9/11 Detainees Abused at Brooklyn Detention Center are Finally Compensated


After 20 years, Muslim, Arab, South Asian 9/11 detainees abused at Brooklyn Detention Center finally compensated 

In a rare move, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has provided funds to a former warden to enable him to settle our lawsuit, Turkmen v. Ashcroft, brought by a group of Muslim, Arab, and South Asian men who were rounded up after 9/11. The men say Dennis Hasty, who at the time headed the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, allowed and encouraged abuse by guards under his supervision. 

The case, which originally also sought accountability from high-level members of the George W. Bush administration, has evolved over two decades and was heard by the Supreme Court the day before Donald Trump took office. The Supreme Court’s resulting decision significantly limited the rights of people seeking compensation for constitutional violations by federal officers, but remanded one claim – against Warden Hasty – to the lower courts. In 2021, the district court held that the men did not have a right to sue for their injuries, without even deciding whether Hasty violated the Constitution. With the prospect of obtaining justice slipping away, the plaintiffs were not in a position typically conducive to securing a settlement. BOP’s unusual intervention, the plaintiffs’ lawyers say, is due to plaintiffs’ egregious mistreatment, the failure of the court system, and their unrelenting pursuit of justice.

According to the agreement, which was made public last week, $98,000 will be split among the six plaintiffs: Ahmer Iqbal Abbasi, Anser Mehmood, Benamar Benatta, Ahmed Khalifa, Saeed Hammouda, and Purna Raj Bajracharya. Although not an admission of guilt, the agreement includes a letter to each individual from BOP director Michael Caraval in which he acknowledges that the Department of Justice determined that “detainees were held in excessively restrictive and unduly harsh conditions of confinement and a number of individuals were physically and verbally abused by certain MDC officers.”

To learn more about Turkmen v. Ashcroft, visit our website.


Mariah Lopez, plaintiff in Lopez v. Department of Homeless Services, profiled in the New York Times 

In a major profile in The New York Times, our client Mariah Lopez discussed her lengthy history of legal action against the City of New York. Ms. Lopez, who has filed at least 14 suits against the City, brought the case Lopez v. New York City Department of Homeless Services, which concerned the failure of the NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to serve transgender people in safe shelters, meet standards for accessibility to residents with disabilities, and provide residents shelter free from harassment and abuse by staff, security, and other personnel. The lawsuit was brought against DHS in 2017 as a pro se case (without lawyers) by Ms. Lopez, an Afro-Latina disabled transgender woman and the executive director for STARR (Strategic Trans Alliance for Radical Reform), after DHS denied her shelter placement. Following important wins in the individual case,  the Center for Constitutional Rights and co-counsel joined in order to provide support to Ms. Lopez in settlement negotiations.

Under the agreement, the City will establish shelter units that serve and affirm trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming (TGNC) people in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Manhattan; provide shelter staff (including contractors) training on the rights of TGNC people; require that shelter staff (including contractors) follow a non-discrimination policy; and strengthen the complaint investigation process when shelter residents allege anti-trans discrimination or harassment.

Read the piece on the New York Times website.


Last modified 

July 12, 2022