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No-fly list ruled unconstitutional

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/25/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

People accused of having terrorist links found to have no way to contest status

Suspicion, it appears, doesn't hold up in the court of law. The U.S. government's no-fly list, which bans individuals with reported links to terrorism from boarding commercial flights has been ruled unconstitutional. A federal judge has ruled that those accused have no meaningful way to contest such a decision.

Four U.S. military veterans were among the plaintiffs. All denied any ties to terrorism. All four claimed that they only learned of their status as they were blocked from boarding a flight.

Four U.S. military veterans were among the plaintiffs. All denied any ties to terrorism. All four claimed that they only learned of their status as they were blocked from boarding a flight.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
6/25/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: No fly list, constitutional, federal judge, plaintiffs


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - U.S. District Judge Anna Brown ruled on a lawsuit filed in federal court in Oregon by 13 American citizens with "no-fly" status. The judge ordered the government to come up with new procedures that allow people on the list to challenge that designation.

Four U.S. military veterans were among the plaintiffs. All denied any ties to terrorism. All four claimed that they only learned of their status as they were blocked from boarding a flight.

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"The court concludes international travel is not a mere convenience or luxury in this modern world. Indeed, for many international travel is a necessary aspect of liberties sacred to members of a free society," Brown wrote in her 65-page ruling.

"Accordingly, on this record the court concludes plaintiffs inclusion on the no-fly list constitutes a significant deprivation of their liberty interests in international travel," Brown said.

The ruling is seen as a major victory to the 13 Muslim American plaintiffs, who had all been denied boarding due to their placement on the list. Some of the plaintiffs said they have never been charged with a terrorism-related offense.

Sheikh Mohamed Kariye, one of the plaintiffs, is the religious leader or Masjed As-Saber, Portland, Oregon's largest mosque. He said he was refused to board a flight in 2010, He has since been unable to travel overseas to visit his daughter or accompany his mother on a religious pilgrimage.

The American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, which brought suit against the government's policy in 2010, argues that secrecy surrounding the list coupled with the lack of any reasonable opportunity for the plaintiffs to fight their placement on a list violates their constitutional rights to due process.

"For years, in the name of national security the government has argued for blanket secrecy and judicial deference to its profoundly unfair no-fly list procedures and those arguments have now been resoundingly rejected by the court," Hina Shamsi, the ACLU's national security project director, said in a written statement.

"This excellent decision also benefits other people wrongly stuck on the no-fly list with the promise of a way out from a Kafkaesque bureaucracy causing them no end of grief and hardships," Shamsi said.

In the meantime, the U.S. government contends there is an adequate means of contesting the flight ban and that individuals listed under the policy may ultimately petition a U.S. appeals court directly for relief.

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