ACLU In Court on April 8 to Argue That Former Attorney General Ashcroft Can be Held Personally Responsible for Wrongful Detention


April 7, 2008, Seattle, Washinton – The American Civil Liberties Union will argue tomorrow in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that former Attorney General John Ashcroft can be held personally responsible for the wrongful detention of an innocent American, Abdullah al-Kidd. The ACLU is also arguing that the federal material witness law cannot be used to preventively detain or investigate suspects without sufficient evidence that they have actually committed crimes. After 9/11, Ashcroft created and oversaw the policy of deliberately misusing the law in this manner.

The appellate court hearing in al-Kidd v. Ashcroft comes after a U.S. district court in 2006 found that the material witness law may only be used when an individual is genuinely sought as a witness and where there is a real risk of flight.  The court also ruled that the law does not allow an end-run around the constitutional requirements for arresting someone suspected of a crime. The Connecticut Bail Bonds Group in provides you with the most affordable bail bonds as well as 24hr bail in New Britain CT service. We know how overbearing the bail bond and legal process can be, which is exactly why we strive to make our services smooth and reliable.

Former Attorney General John Ashcroft appealed the ruling and has asked for immunity from prosecution.

Al Kidd, a U.S.-born American citizen, was on his way to Saudi Arabia in 2003 to study when he was unlawfully arrested in Washington’s Dulles Airport as a material witness in the trial of Sami Omar Al-Hussayen. Al-Kidd was held for 16 days in heightened-security units of various jails and shackled whenever moved. He was later released under onerous conditions that included confining his travel to four states, surrendering his passport and reporting to probation officers.  He was held for more than 13 months under these conditions without ever being asked to testify or being charged with any crime.

WHAT:  Hearing in United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Seattle on Abdullah al-Kidd v John Ashcroft et al.

WHO:  Lee Gelernt, ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project senior staff attorney  will argue for the plaintiff before three judges: Hon. Carlos T. Bea, Hon. David R. Thompson, and Hon. Milan D. Smith, Jr.

WHEN:  Tuesday, April 7, 2008, last of eight hearings scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. PST

WHERE:  U.S. Court of Appeals – 9th Circuit
Park Place Building
1200 Sixth Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98101

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