For Immediate Release
May 16, 2007
Susan Lehman, 212–998–6318
Mike Webb, 212–998–6746
Jonathan Hafetz, 212–998–6289
Brennan Center Calls On Congress To Investigate
Why A U.S. Citizen Is Being Secretly Detained in Ethiopia Without Charge
Today, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law called on members of Congress to investigate why a U.S. citizen has been detained in various African countries for the past three months without any charges brought against him.
In a letter to the Chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Judiciary and Foreign Affairs Committees, Brennan Center counsel Jonathan Hafetz asks Congress to hold hearings to explore the troubling questions of whether the U.S. is deliberately outsourcing Meshals detention in order to circumvent Americas laws and constitutional protections, and to find out if Meshal has been tortured or physically abused.
Mr. Meshals case raises important questions about the United States failure to protect the rights of American citizens, writes Hafetz in the letter. We thus respectfully urge your Committees to conduct hearings into this matter.
Previous requests to Secretary of State Rice, Attorney General Gonazles and Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff for information about Meshals case have received no response.
The United States has openly disclaimed any intention to prosecute Mr. Meshal, Hafetz noted. The FBI has publicly stated on several occasions that no charges are pending against Mr. Meshal in the United States, and that the United States has no intention of charging him with any wrongdoing. Yet, FBI agents continue to question Mr. Meshals father and Mr. Meshals friends in New Jersey about him. One FBI agent went so far as to threaten Mr. Meshals father, a 51-year-old American citizen, computer engineer, and father of five, with loss of his livelihood if he refused to cooperate.