e_legs

No Immunity For Ashcroft

In Civil Liberties, Global War On Terror, Laws & Regulation, Terrorism, US Politics on September 29, 2006 at 9:42 am

According to the Washington Post:

A federal judge in Idaho has ruled that former attorney general John D. Ashcroft can be held personally responsible for the wrongful detention of a U.S. citizen arrested as a “material witness” in a terrorism case.

U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge, in a ruling issued late Wednesday, dismissed claims by the Justice Department that Ashcroft and other officials should be granted immunity from claims by a former star college football player arrested at Dulles International Airport in 2003.

   

Attorneys for the plaintiff in the civil suit, Abdullah al-Kidd, said the decision raises the possibility that Ashcroft could be forced to testify or turn over records about the government’s use of the material witness law, a cornerstone of its controversial legal strategy after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks….

The law was intended to give authorities the power to detain witnesses they feared might flee before testifying. But after the Sept. 11 attacks, the government used it to hold 70 men, nearly half of whom were never called to testify in court, according to a study by the ACLU and Human Rights Watch.

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