Post-9/11 Detainees, Never Charged, Sue Bush Officials for Illegal Arrest and Abuse

Thursday, September 30, 2010
Purna Raj Bajracharya (photo: Nepali Times)
Representing hundreds more like them, a group of individuals imprisoned immediately following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks are suing former leaders of the Bush administration, alleging they were falsely detained and in some cases abused by law enforcement.
No official listing of those arrested after the terrorist attacks has been released by the U.S. Department of Justice, but the agency’s inspector general has produced reports stating 475 people were rounded up in New York and New Jersey alone, with hundreds more arrested across the U.S.
The lawsuit, which names former Attorney General John Ashcroft and other top Bush administration officials, may develop into a class action case. Plaintiffs say they were kept in solitary confinement with the lights on 24 hours a day, denied the ability to contact legal counsel or families and subjected to physical and verbal abuse.
One of those arrested during the post-attack hysteria was Purna Raj Bajracharya, who was preparing to return to his home country of Nepal after spending five years in the U.S. Bajracharya was arrested by federal agents for videotaping a building in New York City. Apparently unbeknownst to Bajracharya, the building turned out to contain a local FBI office. No other evidence existed indicating the he was a threat, other than the footage he shot so he could show his family back home what New York looked like.
Barely a week after Bajracharya was seized, one of the FBI investigators who aided in his arrest, James P. Wynne, came to the conclusion that the Nepalese Buddhist was completely innocent. Wynne recommended that Bajracharya be released as soon as possible…but it was too late. Bajracharya had descended into the Bush-Ashcroft world of secret detention, interrogation and hearings. After spending three months shackled in solitary confinement, he was finally sent home to Kathmandu.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Ashcroft's Post-9/11 Roundups Spark Lawsuit (by William Fisher, Inter Press Service)
In F.B.I., Innocent Detainee Found Unlikely Ally (by Nina Bernstein, New York Times)


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