Take Action on Behalf of the Post-September 11 Detainees
The U.S. government has failed to ensure that its terrorist investigations in the United States are conducted within the framework of full respect for international human rights standards. In its recent report, "Presumption of Guilt: Human Rights Abuses of Post-September 11 detainees," Human Rights Watch found that the U.S. Department of Justice, under the direction of Attorney General John Ashcroft, has misused immigration charges to dodge legal restraints on its power to detain and interrogate persons as it pursues its investigation of the September 11 attacks. The report documents numerous cases of arbitrary detention and due process violations as well as a policy of secret arrests and proceedings that have affected hundreds of non-citizens. Human Rights Watch found that some detainees were held for prolonged periods without charges, had their access to counsel impeded, and were subjected to coercive interrogations. In some cases, detainees were held for months under restrictive conditions, including solitary confinement. Some detainees were physically and verbally abused because of their national origin or religion.
- Write the Attorney
General: Urge Attorney General Ashcroft to ensure that the investigations into the attacks of September 11 are conducted with full regard for the rights of all persons in the United States to be free of arbitrary detention, mistreatment in confinement, and violations of due process. Urge the Attorney General to reverse the policy of secret immigration hearings and to release the names of all persons detained since September 11 in connection with the terrorism investigation. Click here for a sample letter.
- Write the Director
of the Federal Bureau of Investigation: Express concern regarding the conduct of FBI agents during their investigation into the attacks of September 11. Urge Director Mueller to ensure that FBI agents do not target persons for arrest or investigation based on their national origin, race, religion or gender. Click here for a sample letter.
- Contact your
Senators and Representatives in Congress: Call on members of Congress to ensure that the investigation and detention of those suspected of having links to terrorism are conducted with full regard for the rights of all persons in the United States. Urge members of Congress to exercise their legislative and oversight authority to ensure that the necessary changes in current policies and practices are made. Click here for a sample letter.