ACLU Sues Bureau of Prisons Over Isolation Policy

The ACLU has filed a federal lawsuit in Indiana against the Bureau of Prisons over the creation of "CMU's" -- "secretly created housing units inside federal prisons in which prisoners are condemned to live in stark isolation from the outside world."

Who is in these CMU's? Mostly muslims.

The government says it created CMUs to house prisoners it views as terrorists, but today they are disproportionately inhabited by Muslim prisoners – many of whom have never been convicted of terrorism related crimes. In addition, these CMUs were established in violation of federal laws requiring public scrutiny, without any opportunity for public comment or oversight in a clear effort to skirt obligations of accountability and transparency.


The lawsuit was filed on behalf of American citizen Sabri Benkahla. Check out these facts:

....[Benkahla is] a graduate of George Mason University. Benkahla was studying Islamic law and jurisprudence in Saudi Arabia in 2003 when he was abducted at gunpoint by the Saudi secret police the night before his wedding, transferred to the custody of the FBI, flown back to America and charged with supplying services to the Taliban and using a firearm in connection with a crime of violence. After a bench trial, U.S. District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema found him not guilty. Brinkema called his arrest and transfer to American authorities "a Kafkaesque situation."

It gets worse:

Less than a month later, however, the government – not satisfied with Benkahla's acquittal – forced him to testify before a federal grand jury. He was accused and convicted of perjury, despite the fact that most of the allegedly false statements he was accused of making involved the same subject matter that served as the basis for his previous trial. Benkahla was sentenced to 121 months in prison, but even his sentencing judge, U.S. District Court Judge James C. Cacheris, declared unequivocally that "Sabri Benkahla is not a terrorist," highlighted his "model citizenry," and stated that the chances of Benkahla ever committing another crime were "infinitesimal."

Benkahla was tranferred to the CMU in Terre Haute. The complaint is available here.

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