A federal judge ruled that the watch list database of over 1 million prominent and popular terrorists from the FBI has been declared to go against the constitutional rights of the citizens of the U.S.
On September 4, a U.S. District Judge of the Eastern District of Virginia, Anthony J. Trenga made theon behalf of 23 Islamic Americans who filed a legal case concerning their participation in the Terrorist Screening Database. Judge Trenga found out that the watch list is a breach of the constitutional right to fair treatment.
Trenga indicated that the list has restricted their movement and their capacity to engage in some activities, especially the fact that they were covertly flagged without a thorough process. Trenga stated that there was no proof or contention to justify the inclusion of the affected parties as a known terrorist.
He then added that an individual can even be labeled as a supposed terrorist on the watch list due to safe conduct.
The judge wrote that the inclusion of an individual in the watch list needs no proof of any participation in criminal activity or intended criminal activity and individuals who have also been vindicated from any criminal activity can also be included.
In any case, the
decision will have an impact on the techniques used by the government in
compiling the watch list which has been labeled inappropriate and depicted by
contenders as a library of Muslims that was developed during the Islamophobia
in the early part of the year 2000. Trenga had ordered the defendants and the
prosecutor to provide justifications on how the constitutional issue with the
database can be solved with over 1.2 million individuals having been listed as
of July 2017 along with 4,600 residents or citizens of the US.
Trenga was applauded by the Council of American Islamic Relations, the civil rights group that tendered the legal case in 2016 for significant success after writing his views on a 32-page report
The lawyer for the CAIR, Gadeir Abbas indicated in a statement that the watch list system should not prey on innocent individuals which is a major requirement of the constitution.
The watch list compared to the No Fly List is much more different and a less restricted database which hinders individuals from taking flights or flying the airspace of other countries.
An Oregon federal judge in 2014 indicated the illegality of the No Fly List which triggered a restructuring of the Department of Homeland Security. Abbas stated that the new guidelines that concentrated on the FBI were the first that explicitly focused on the watch list.
It is therefore critical to employ the services of an experienced attorney whenever you are confronted with Federal Criminal Defense Charges because federal crimes are taken very seriously, which could have an adverse effect on the defendant’s life and future.
The AP released a report
that the FBI lawyers contended that the efforts by the government in tackling
terrorism go beyond the issues claimed by the few Muslim American residents
that are included on the watch list.
But the view stated that Muslim American citizens that are included in the watch list informed the court that they usually face severe provocation and maltreatment.
One of the names that were included in the watch list, Anas Elhady was coming back to the United States in 2015 after a brief visit to Canada but was suddenly handcuffed and questioned by Border Patrol for about 10 hours. He came to require emergency medical treatment while in detention and he was apprehended two or three times subsequently. He was also once informed by the FBI that his conversation on the phone was supervised.
Trenga who was an
appointee during the administration of President George W. Bush also wrote that
Elhady was informed when trying to cross the border that an individual like him
should have desisted from crossing the border.
A complainant who was an employee at the Florida chapter of CAIR, Hassan Shibly indicated that he has been sought after a couple of times as a result of being included in the watch list database. He was once remanded in front of his grandma by authorities, very close to a border crossing in Detroit.
Sibly informed AP that the act was embarrassing and if the attorneys of the government ever encountered what they went through, they would never indicate such justifications.
Hassan Fares, another complainant stated that his inclusion in the watch list as a result of its covert nature could have occurred due to his effort to open a bank account.He said that finding out whether it is arbitrary or linked to a particular occurrence is very hard and this feeling of suspicion could cause depression.
Abbas stated that the database increased from a 2013 record of 630,000 individuals to a 2017 record of 1.12 million individuals and still had no effect in tackling terrorism because the most perpetrator of terrorist activities was never included in the list.
A case of Omar Mateen was referenced by Abbas, who murdered 49 individuals at the Orlando Pulse nightclub in 2016, Mateen who had been previously interrogated twice by the FBI was later removed from the watch list in March 2014 because federal agents came to a conclusion that he was not a threat said the current FBI director James B. Comey.
However, Trenga during his decision informed those directly involved in the legal case that they had 45 days to provide their justifications and responses on modifying the watch list.