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Supreme Court Denies Muslim Detainee Claims Against Federal Officials

The Supreme Court has denied the right of a Muslim detainee from Pakistan to sue former Attorney General John Ashcroft and former FBI director Robert Mueller,

Jul 31, 2020
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The Supreme Court has denied the right of a Muslim detainee from Pakistan to sue former Attorney General John Ashcroft and former FBI director Robert Mueller, among others, for discrimination based on religion and national origin that he claims led to his arrest and mistreatment after Sept. 11, 2001.
In a 5-4 opinion, the high court this morning held that Iqbal had failed to state a claim for relief because he had not shown that the government officials illegally discriminated by arresting large numbers of Muslims after the attacks and confining them in extremely restrictive conditions in maximum security prisons.
The complaint charges that the federal officials held Iqbal for six months in extremely restrictive conditions in a maximum security prison in New York before affording him a trial; that Iqbal’s jailers “kicked him in the stomach, punched him in the face, and dragged him across” his cell for no good reason; “subjected him to serial strip and body-cavity searches when he posed no safety risk to himself or others,” and “and refused to let him and other Muslims pray because there would be ‘[n]o prayers for terrorists.’”
Nevertheless, the court concluded that “the complaint does not show, or even intimate, that petitioners purposefully housed detainees in the ADMAX SHU [the federal prison] due to their race, religion, or national origin. All it plausibly suggests is that the Nation’s top law enforcement officers, in the aftermath of a devastating terrorist attack, sought to keep suspected terrorists in the most secure conditions available until the suspects could be cleared of terrorist activity.”
Justices Souter, Stevens, Breyer and Ginsburg dissented, calling the majority’s decision “most unfair to Iqbal” for denying him “the opportunity to be heard” on the question of whether Ashcroft and Mueller could be held responsible based on their alleged “knowledge and deliberate indifference” to violations of Iqbal’s rights.
Iqbal eventually pleaded guilty to fraud charges, served a term of imprisonment and was deported to Pakistan.
Dexter Cooke

Dexter Cooke

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Dexter Cooke is an economist, marketing strategist, and orthopedic surgeon with over 20 years of experience crafting compelling narratives that resonate worldwide. He holds a Journalism degree from Columbia University, an Economics background from Yale University, and a medical degree with a postdoctoral fellowship in orthopedic medicine from the Medical University of South Carolina. Dexter’s insights into media, economics, and marketing shine through his prolific contributions to respected publications and advisory roles for influential organizations. As an orthopedic surgeon specializing in minimally invasive knee replacement surgery and laparoscopic procedures, Dexter prioritizes patient care above all. Outside his professional pursuits, Dexter enjoys collecting vintage watches, studying ancient civilizations, learning about astronomy, and participating in charity runs.
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