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2003-06-03

Justice Department Report Finds Immigrants with no Ties to Terror Suffered "Pattern of Physical and Verbal Abuse" in Detention Facilities

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The report does not recommend bringing criminal charges.

A Justice Department report released yesterday concluded authorities violated the civil rights of hundreds of immigrants detained after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. At a federal prison where over 80 people were held, there was a "pattern of physical and verbal abuse."

The review by the Office of the Inspector General also found FBI officials made little attempt to distinguish between immigrants with possible ties to terrorism, and those who simply had the misfortune to be swept up in the investigation.

Without bail, detainees remained in jail for an average of nearly three months. They had to wait for weeks until they were allowed to make phone calls and find lawyers. Some were kept for months in cells illuminated 24 hours a day and were escorted in handcuffs, leg irons and waist chains.

In one Brooklyn detention facility, some detainees said guards slammed them into walls and taunted them.

  • Rebecca Thornton, Fellow at the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights. She is the spokesperson for a group of 20 organizations that met with the Office of the Inspector General when they were preparing their report.

Link:

Lawyers Committee for Human Rights

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