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FBI Sued for Muslim Torture

Published: 02/06/2013 12:18:15 AM GMT
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CAIRO - A Muslim lawsuit is seeking to hold the FBI and State Department officials accountable for complicity in torturing a US Muslim for refusing to work as an informant. Our nation's leaders must be held accountable if (more)

CAIRO - A Muslim lawsuit is seeking to hold the FBI and State Department officials accountable for complicity in torturing a US Muslim for refusing to work as an informant.

"Our nation's leaders must be held accountable if they use foreign proxies to violate the constitutional rights of American citizens," Gadeir Abbas, Staff Attorney at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who is co-counsel in the lawsuit, said in a statement obtained by lawsuit was filed by Yonas Fikre, a Sudanese man of Eritrean descent, in the US District Court in Oregon against the FBI for $30 million and several injunctions for his mistreatment in custody in 2011.

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He says in his lawsuit that US agents were angry when he refused to cooperate as an informant in 2010.

The suit says that the government put Fikre on the no-fly list and used that classification to keep him overseas.

US agents also appeared to be standing by in 2011 as Fikre was brutalized when police officers from the United Arab Emirates blindfolded him and interrogated him.

He says that police in Abu Dhabi mimicked some of the same questions previously posed to him by the FBI agents.

"(Fikre) thus inquired whether his confinement and mistreatment was at the request of the FBI," according to the lawsuit.

"On each such occasion, the interrogators responded by beating plaintiff severely."

The lawsuit names Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of State John Kerry, FBI Director Robert Mueller, FBI Terrorism Screening Center director Timothy Healy and two Portland-based agents, David Noordeloos and Jason Dundas.

This is not the first time for Fikre's case to come to light.

Last year, CAIR called on the US Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division to investigate Fikre's claims that he was beaten on the soles of his feet, kicked and punched, and held in stress positions while interrogators shouted questions similar to those posed to him by FBI agents and other American officials.

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Accusing the FBI of denial of citizenship rights, Fikre is the fourth man from Oregon to accuse the agency of detaining and torturing him.

“We want this practice to be exposed and stopped,” Tom Nelson, Fikre's attorney, was quoted as saying by Russia Today.

Two other Oregon Muslims have also said they were held overseas and were asked to become informants by Portland-based FBI agents. Both men have returned to Oregon.

Earlier this week, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected government efforts to dismiss that case.

Over the past two years, the FBI has placed at least five men with affiliations to Masjed As-Saber, Oregon's largest mosque, including its longtime religious leader, on the nation's no-fly list.

The unexplained actions are aggravating the FBI's already poor relationship with the mosque and fueling fear and frustration among Muslims.

CAIR has previously called on the DOJ to investigate acts of "coercion and intimidation" allegedly used by the FBI's Portland Field Office to pressure Muslim citizens into giving up their constitutional rights if they wished to return to the United States from overseas.

In 2011, CAIR filed a lawsuit against the DOJ and the FBI seeking a court order to allow a Virginia Muslim teenager who had been detained in Kuwait and placed on a US government no-fly list to return to the United States.

Released in Sept. 4, 2011, Fikre had been placed on the US no-fly list, and could not return to Oregon.He is currently seeking asylum in Sweden because he fears what US officials may do to him if he returns.

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