Thursday, July 29, 2004

HRUSA Files Lawsuit to Challenge U.S. Government's Rendition to Torture Program

On June 11, 2003, Ahmed Abu Ali, a U.S. citizen of Falls Church, Va., was taking final exams at the university he attended in Medina, Saudi Arabia, when he was seized by Saudi officials and brought to a Saudi prison, where Abu Ali was held incommunicado for the first few months of detention, and only allowed to call his parents every few weeks thereafter. At no time during these first few months was he given a chance to legally contest his detention.

A few months into his indefinite detention, Abu Ali was interrogated by FBI officials, and was and subsequently subjected to solitary confinement for a period of three months, during which time he lost 30 pounds, and was subjected to mistreatment and abuse.

Abu Ali's parents came to us for help after other groups had turned them away, calling Abu Ali's case "unwinnable." Abu's family finally came to Human Rights USA, and we readily agreed to take his case. We have now filed suit against several U.S. government officials, challenging the government's extraordinary rendition program and its attempts to deny due process to U.S. citizens, as it has done with terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay.

Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that Guantanamo Bay detainees could not be held indefinitely without an opportunity to challenge their detentions before a neutral tribunal. There is no direct legal precedent for federal courts to order American authorities to release a U.S. citizen held by foreign officials.

For additional news items about Abu Ali's case, please see the following: