- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Egyptian who claimed abuse to receive $300,000

NEW YORK (Reuters) — The U.S. government has agreed to pay $300,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by an Egyptian man who said he was physically abused while being detained after the September 11 attacks, his attorney said yesterday.

“The government has to take responsibility for how it detains people,” Alex Reinert said.

Mr. Reinert represented Ehab Elmaghraby, who was held for almost a year. When the Egyptian man finally was charged, it was not with terrorism but with credit card fraud. Mr. Elmaghraby used to run a restaurant in Manhattan and now lives in Alexandria, Egypt.

The U.S. Justice Department declined to comment. Former Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III were among the defendants. The government admitted no wrongdoing, which is typical when a lawsuit is settled.

Mr. Elmaghraby was one of two plaintiffs in the lawsuit. The other, a Pakistani man named Javaid Iqbal, is still pursuing his case.

Both were held for nearly a year and claim they were beaten while shackled, cursed as terrorists and subjected to repeated and unnecessary searches of body cavities.

Federal authorities detained 762 noncitizens — virtually all Muslims or Arabs — in the weeks after the attacks, and none of them was found to have links with the suicide hijackings or al Qaeda.

“All of the cases involve very fundamental issues of due process and fair treatment. There was never any legitimate evidence that [Mr. Elmaghraby] had any connection to terrorism, and that’s true with the vast majority of these cases,” Mr. Reinert said.

The government has defended its actions, saying extraordinary measures were required for national security.

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