A lawsuit filed by Muslims against their arrests following the 9/11 terror attacks has been accepted by a federal court in the United States after nearly 14 years.
According to The Guardian, the lawsuit was finally accepted by a federal appeals court last week, with two of three judges willing to hear what happened when the largest criminal investigation in the history of the United States tested the boundaries of civil liberties.
Three former top US officials, including former Senator John Ashcroft and FBI director Robert Mueller, are named in the lawsuit as responsible for “holding the defendants in solitary confinement 23 hours a day with regular strip searches because their perceived faith or race placed them in the group targeted for recruitment by al-Qaida violated the detainees’ constitutional rights.
“The suffering endured by those who were imprisoned merely because they were caught up in the hysteria of the days immediately following 9/11 is not without a remedy.”
Rachel Meeropol, a Center for Constitutional Rights attorney working on the case, told the Guardian the verdict has given hope about learning what happened at the top layers of US government at that time.
She also said that the case would have been resolved years ago if the plaintiffs had taken local prison officials to court, but her clients and other former detainees believed it was important to hold top US officials accountable.
“If they aren’t held accountable, there is nothing to stop them from doing it again,” Meeropol added.
According to the article, 762 people were arrested across the country.
The lawsuit filed in a federal court in April 2002 now has eight complainants – six Muslims, a Hindu and a Buddhist. Each was deported after being cleared of any connection to terrorism.