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Federal Court OKs Post-9/11 Secret Arrests

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Appeals court backs Justice Dept. decision to withhold the names of hundreds of immigrants detained after Sept. 11. We talk to attorney Kate Martin.

The federal court of appeals in Washington D.C. yesterday ruled the Justice Department can secretly detain immigrants without ever publicly releasing their names, the reason for the arrests or the names of their attorneys.

The decision reverses a lower court ruling last August that ordered the government to make public the names of the detainees and their lawyers.

The three-judge court ruled against a coalition of more than 20 civil liberties groups and other organizations who invoked the Freedom of Information Act to challenge the secret arrests. The ruling also said the government could keep secret the dates and locations of the arrest, detention and release of all the detainees.

"For the first time in US history, a court has approved secret arrests," said Attorney Kate Martin.

Martin, who heads the Center for National Security Studies, said her organization and others in the case may appeal the ruling. A coalition of civil liberties groups had filed suit in order to obtain the names of the more than 750 immigrants who were secretly picked up after Sept. 11.

A Washington Post editorial described the Court’s move as a "dreadful decision."

  • Kate Martin, Director of the Center for National Security Studies.


Center for National Security Studies

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