Diala Shamas is a staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where she works on challenging government and law enforcement abuses perpetrated under the guise of national security, both in the U.S. and abroad. Prior to joining the Center for Constitutional Rights, Diala was a Clinical Supervising Attorney and Lecturer in Law at Stanford Law School, and a Senior Staff Attorney supervising the CLEAR (Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility) project at CUNY School of Law.
Diala has represented individuals who were approached for questioning by local and federal law enforcement, targeted for surveillance, placed on federal watch-lists or who have had immigration benefits withheld on national security grounds. She works closely with Yemeni-American communities in their legal and advocacy efforts to challenge the Muslim Ban. She was on the legal team representing the plaintiffs in Raza v. City of New York, which challenged the New York City Police Department’s program of suspicionless surveillance of Muslims and resulted in a historic settlement reforming the Police Department’s practices. She also litigated Tanvir v. Holder, challenging the FBI’s abuse of the No-Fly List to pressure individuals to become informants.
Diala has also worked on a range of international human rights issues. This includes human rights and humanitarian law violations in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian Territory, where she has lived and worked extensively, as well refugee policies in Australia and Greece. She brings a community-oriented and client-centered approach to all of her work.
Shamas received her undergraduate and law degrees from Yale, where she was an editor for the Yale Human Rights and Development Law Journal. She has been published by or appeared in major news outlets, including the New York Times, The Nation, DemocracyNow!, CNN.com, The Washington Post, NPR, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, This American Life, and The Intercept.