The opinion of the court was delivered by: John Gleeson, United States District Judge
FOR ONLINE PUBLICATION ONLY
This case raises important issues concerning the arrest, detention, and treatment of aliens of Middle Eastern origin in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The plaintiffs were all illegal aliens at the time. In broad strokes, their claims in this case fall into two categories. First, they contend that the government used their status as illegal aliens as a cover, as an excuse to hold them in jail while it pursued its real interest -- determining whether they were terrorists, or could help catch terrorists. Second, the plaintiffs claim the conditions of their confinement flagrantly violated our Constitution.
In general, the latter claims survive this motion to dismiss, largely for the reasons set forth in Elmaghraby v. Ashcroft, 2005 WL 2375202 (E.D.N.Y.).
The claims in the first category, however, are dismissed. After the September 11 attacks, our government used all available law enforcement tools to ferret out the persons responsible for those atrocities and to prevent additional acts of terrorism. We should expect nothing less. One of those tools was the authority to arrest and detain illegal aliens. If the plaintiffs' allegations are true -- and I accept them as true on this motion to dismiss -- then the government held them in a jail for months not because that amount of time was necessary to remove them to their countries of citizenship, but because it wanted to have them available here in the United States in the event criminal charges could be brought against them.
But the government was allowed to do that. An ulterior motive in this context does not render illegal conduct that was within the bounds of the government's authority. An officer who wants to search a suspect's car for a handgun can pull him over (a Fourth Amendment "seizure") for changing lanes without using his blinker (a traffic violation), even if the officer has no interest in enforcing the laws requiring drivers to signal a lane change. See United States v. Scopo, 19 F.3d 777 (2d Cir. 1994). Similarly, the government may use its authority to detain illegal aliens pending deportation even if its real interest is building criminal cases against them.
For the reasons set forth below, the defendants' motion to dismiss is granted in part and denied in part.
The plaintiffs, eight male, non-U.S. citizens, were arrested on immigration violations following the September 11, 2001 attacks. They were held in immigration custody for periods ranging from three to almost seven months after receiving final orders of removal or grants of voluntary departure. All but one are Muslims of Middle Eastern origin (the exception, Akil Sachdeva, is a native of India and is Hindu). They bring this putative class action on behalf of themselves and the class of male non-citizens who are Arab or Muslim, or were perceived by the defendants to be Arab or Muslim, who were (1) similarly arrested by the Immigration and Naturalization Service ("INS") or the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") after September 11, 2001 and charged with immigration violations ("post-September 11 detainees"); (2) detained at the Metropolitan Detention Center ("MDC") or Passaic County Jail; (3) treated as "of interest" to the government's terrorism investigation into the September 11 events; and (4) subjected to a blanket no-bond policy pursuant to which they were held without bond until cleared by the FBI of any terrorist connections.
The plaintiffs assert that post-September 11 detainees at the MDC were not served with timely notice of the charges against them; were classified "of high interest" to the government's terrorist investigation (or as "Witness Security" or "Management Interest Group 155" detainees) without adequate procedures for making such a determination, and as a result were placed in highly restrictive custody; were subjected to a communications blackout and other actions that interfered with their access to counsel and to the courts; and were detained for far longer than necessary after receiving final orders of removal or grants of voluntary departure without being afforded a timely hearing to determine whether continued detention was warranted.
The plaintiffs assert that post-September 11 detainees at the MDC and Passaic County Jail were subjected to excessively harsh conditions of confinement, including being subjected to physical and verbal abuse, confined in tiny cells for over 23 hours a day, subjected to arbitrary and abusive strip searches, handcuffed and shackled whenever taken out of their cells, deprived of sleep, provided with inadequate medical care, and constructively denied exercise and necessary hygiene items. The plaintiffs allege that MDC defendants deliberately interfered with detainees' religious practices, and failed to return detainees' personal items (including personal identification and money) confiscated upon their arrest or when their homes were searched.
The plaintiffs assert that post-September 11 detainees in the Passaic County Jail (the "Passaic Jail" or "Passaic Facility") were held in overcrowded conditions and housed with potentially dangerous criminal pretrial detainees.
The plaintiffs assert that their race, religion, ethnicity, and national origin played a determinative role in the decisions to detain them, to hold them without bond in punitive conditions of confinement, and to keep them detained beyond the point at which removal or voluntary departure could have been effectuated.
The Third Amended Complaint (the "complaint" or "TAC"), filed on September 13, 2004, alleges 31 claims: 14 claims against all defendants for violations of post-September 11 detainees' constitutional rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments;*fn1 three claims against all defendants for violations of international law, brought pursuant to the Alien Tort Statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1350; seven claims against MDC defendants for the use of excessive force and for conducting unreasonable strip searches in violation of plaintiffs' Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights; and seven claims brought pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), 28 U.S.C. § 2674. Plaintiffs seek both monetary and equitable relief.*fn2
The following individuals are named as defendants: (1) John Ashcroft, the former Attorney General of the United States; Robert Mueller, the Director of the FBI; and James W. Ziglar, the former Commissioner of the INS (collectively, "the Washington-based defendants");
(2) Dennis Hasty and Michael Zenk (former wardens of the MDC) (collectively, "the Wardens"); and (3) MDC officials, or former MDC officials, of a rank below warden.*fn3
By consolidated motion, the United States and defendants Ashcroft, Mueller, Ziglar, Hasty, and Zenk have moved to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12. The United States seeks partial dismissal, and the individual defendants seek to dismiss all claims against them. James Sherman, the MDC Associate Warden for Custody, has separately moved to dismiss all claims brought against him, as has Unit Manager Clemmet Shacks.*fn4
The original complaint in this case was filed on April 17, 2002. The First Amended Complaint was filed on July 27, 2002. The government moved to dismiss on behalf of all named defendants on August 26, 2002, and oral argument on the motion took place on December 19, 2002. On June 2, 2003, the Office of the Inspector General of the United States Department of Justice released a 198-page report entitled "A Review of the Treatment of Aliens Held on Immigration Charges in Connection with the Investigation of the September 11 Attacks" (the "OIG Report"). In light of the OIG Report, the plaintiffs sought leave by letter dated June 5, 2003 to amend their complaint. Around that time, the government withdrew from representing the named defendants in their individual capacities, and substitute counsel filed notices of appearance.
On June 18, 2003, the plaintiffs filed the Second Amended Complaint, attaching the April 2003 OIG Report. Supplemental briefs in support of and opposing the motions to dismiss were filed. Then, in December 2003, the Office of the Inspector General filed another report -- its 47-page "Supplemental Report on September 11 Detainees' Allegations of Abuse at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York" (the "Supplemental OIG Report"). On September 7, 2004, plaintiffs requested leave to file a Third Amended Complaint in order to, among other things, (1) add an additional named plaintiff (Ashraf Ibrahim); (2) identify defendants previously listed as John Doe or John Roe and detail their alleged conduct; (3) add additional defendants; (4) amend various claims based on information contained in the Supplemental OIG report; and (5) assert several new claims, including a Bivens claims based upon unreasonable strip searches and claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act. I granted leave, and the Third Amended Complaint was filed on September 14, 2004, after which followed yet another round of briefing on the motions to dismiss.
At a hearing on October 21, 2004, I ordered that discovery could begin on claims involving the conditions of confinement and the use of excessive force. The Wardens moved to dismiss these claims as against them, arguing that they were entitled to qualified immunity. The motion was denied by order dated December 3, 2004, and a motion for reconsideration and vacatur of the December 3, 2004 order was denied on January 14, 2005. Familiarity with the December 3, 2004 order is assumed.
The Third Amended Complaint, by itself and by incorporating the two OIG reports annexed thereto, alleges the following facts. Many of the allegations are in dispute, but of course, on a motion to dismiss pursuant to either Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) or (6), the court must assume that all factual allegations in the complaint are true. See Shipping Fin. Serv. Corp v. Drakos, 140 F.3d 129, 131 (2d Cir. 1998) (Rule 12(b)(1)); Bolt Elec., Inc. v. City of New York, 53 F.3d 465, 469 (2d Cir. 1995) (Rule 12(b)(6)).
Baloch is a Muslim and a native of Pakistan. He holds a medical degree from Bolan Medical College in Quetta, Pakistan. He immigrated to Canada in 1989 and became a Canadian citizen in 1994. Both his wife and his daughter reside in Canada. Several times over the past decade, Baloch has entered the United States in order to find work. He most recently entered the country in April 2001.
On September 19, 2001, FBI, INS, Department of Labor, and NYPD officers who were conducting an investigation of Baloch's apartment-mate went to Baloch's apartment. There they interrogated Baloch for approximately four hours about the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. At no point was he advised of his right to counsel or given Miranda warnings. Baloch denied any involvement with terrorism, but disclosed that he had previously been removed from the United States and had used the alias Faisal Kurd in order to obtain false identification documents. FBI and INS agents searched his home and seized several items, including his laptop computer. Baloch was arrested and taken in handcuffs to an INS facility on Varick Street in Manhattan, where all of his personal belongings, including identification and money, were confiscated. Baloch was held for two nights at the Varick Street facility.
On September 21, 2001, Baloch was "processed for removal." He was given a "Notice of Rights" and "Request for Disposition" form, which he refused to sign. TAC ¶ 204.
That night, he was taken to the MDC. Five MDC guards, including Lt. Barrere and correctional officers ("COs") McCabe, Lopez, and Osteen, escorted Baloch to an empty cell. Baloch alleges that the five guards, working as a team, picked him up from under his arms and threw him from corner to corner in the cell, hitting and kicking him in the back as he fell to the ground. Some of the officers cursed at Baloch, calling him a "fucking Muslim terrorist," and saying things like: "You did this to us. We're going to kill you," and "You know why you are in here. The government thinks that you are a terrorist." TAC ¶ 205. Baloch was designated "as a possible terrorist" and placed in the ADMAX SHU.
On September 22, 2001, the INS reinstated a prior deportation order. Because of this prior order, Baloch was not provided with a hearing.
On September 28, 2001, Baloch was interviewed by FBI agent Noreen Gleason and INS agent Kevin Ryan about his immigration status, work history, and connections to terrorism. On October 11, 2001, he was again interviewed by these same agents. On October 14, 2001, Baloch was interviewed by agents from the FBI, INS, and NYPD. During this interview, Baloch signed a prepared statement that he purchased false identification documents and passports. On October 29, 2001, Baloch was interviewed by two FBI agents and an NYPD detective, who further questioned him about his use of false documents. During one of these interrogations, Baloch was told things like, "If you're not cooperative, we'll put you in jail for 10 years or deport you back to Pakistan instead of Canada, where they'll put you in jail longer than 10 years." TAC ¶ 209.
Shortly after arriving at the MDC, Baloch requested to speak with an attorney. He continued to make such requests, but it was not until November 7, 2001, about six weeks after his arrival at the MDC, that he was allowed to place a call to the Legal Aid Society. Baloch first met with an attorney on November 19, 2001. This meeting, like all of Baloch's subsequent meetings with his attorneys, was recorded, including both video and audio. Baloch was aware of the camera, and was very reluctant to speak candidly because he was being recorded.
When officials from the Canadian consulate inquired about Baloch's whereabouts, MDC officials denied that Baloch was being detained there. He first met with a consular official on December 13, 2001.
On December 21, 2001, after approximately three months of detention, Baloch filed a habeas corpus petition in the United Stated District Court for the Southern District of New York. On January 3, 2002, he was indicted for illegal re-entry into the United States. On February 7, 2002, Baloch was transferred from the ADMAX SHU to MDC's general population unit. On April 2, 2002, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to time served. Shortly thereafter, he was transferred to the Passaic Jail.
Baloch was subjected to physical and verbal abuse while in the ADMAX SHU. He alleges that MDC defendants would regularly drag him by his waist chain, causing his ankle shackles to dig in; shove him in the back while his chin was against the wall and slam him into walls while he was being transferred to and from his cell; and twist his hands, thumbs, and fingers, step on the chain connecting his ankle shackles, causing the shackles to tighten painfully, and lift his arms or elbows while his wrists were cuffed. Baloch further alleges that some MDC lieutenants participated in physically abusing him, while others witnessed the treatment but did nothing to stop it.
Baloch was subjected to constant verbal harassment by officers in the ADMAX SHU, who would regularly refer to him as a "fucking Muslim" and a "terrorist." In particular, Baloch alleges that CO Wilson regularly spoke to him about getting revenge for terrorist attacks; CO Lopez regularly gave Baloch the finger and cursed him; and Lieutenant Barrere told him that "Your lawyers can't help you out. You'll stay here for another 20 years without seeing a judge." At one point, when a guard had difficulty unlocking Baloch's handcuffs, he brought over a large pair of shears and threatened to cut Baloch's hands off to unlock the cuffs.
On April 16, 2002,*fn5 more than six months after Baloch's prior deportation order was reinstated, the INS took Baloch to Newark Airport and put him on a plane bound for Toronto without any personal identification or money. None of the items confiscated from Baloch was returned to him. Since his deportation, Baloch has requested the return of these items, but that request has been denied.
Baloch experiences both physical and psychological effects of his detention in the United States. He is being treated for severe depression, and he has tested positive for tuberculosis. Among the items confiscated from him were social insurance and health cards. Without them, he has had trouble obtaining medical treatment in Canada. The effects of his detention have put a strain on his marriage, causing his recent separation from his wife. Because of Baloch's depression, the Canadian Medical Board found him unfit to practice medicine for a time.
b. Yasser Ebrahim and Hany Ibrahim
Yasser and Hany,*fn6 who are brothers, are Muslim and natives of Egypt. Hany entered the United States on a tourist visa in 1998; Yasser re-entered the United States on a tourist visa in January 2001. Yasser had previously lived in the United States, arriving on a tourist visa on four different occasions. On one such visit in 1996, he married a U.S. citizen, with whom he lived in Queens, New York until they separated in 1998. Shortly thereafter, he returned to Egypt and did not visit the United States again until January 2001.
In 2001, the brothers lived with Egyptian and Moroccan friends in Brooklyn. Yasser began a website design business, and Hany worked occasionally at a delicatessen.
On September 30, 2001, twelve men, identifying themselves as FBI and INS agents and NYPD officers, visited the apartment where Yasser and Hany were staying and interrogated the two brothers and their friends about the September 11 attacks. Yasser, Hany, and their friends were each questioned separately about their possible terrorist activity and their immigration status. They each denied involvement in terrorist activity.
Following the interrogations, the FBI and INS agents told Yasser, Hany, and one Egyptian roommate that "we have to take you with us." TAC ¶ 183. The three were arrested and handcuffed. Yasser's and Hany's requests to call an attorney were denied, and the agents searched their apartment, seizing all of Yasser's books, including some religious texts.
Yasser and Hany were taken to the INS facility on Varick Street, where they were held for approximately 24 hours. All their personal belongings, including personal identification and money ($27 belonging to Hany, and $250 belonging to Yasser), were confiscated. Throughout the 24-hour period, they were not permitted to use the bathroom. At night, they were forced to sleep on the floor.
On the following day, October 1, 2001, Yasser and Hany were transported by van in handcuffs, chains, and shackles to the MDC. On arrival, they were pulled from the van by several MDC guards. The guards slammed Hany face-first into a wall that had an American-flag t-shirt taped to it. Hany began to cry and was told to "shut up." He was called a "motherfucker" and told to look at the flag. Yasser was also slammed face-first into the wall, which caused him pain so severe that he thought his nose was broken.
Once inside the MDC's Receiving and Discharge area ("R&D area"), the brothers were fingerprinted, strip searched, and given orange jumpsuits to wear. Escorted by Lieutenant Barrere and COs Diaz and Chase to the ADMAX SHU, the brothers were forcefully pushed into walls and doors along the way. While escorting Hany, the officers twisted his wrists and tightened the handcuffs until his wrists bled. The officers repeatedly stepped on his leg chains while ordering him to walk, causing him to fall, and leaving his ankles bruised and bloodied.
Yasser underwent similar abuse. During this trip to the ADMAX SHU, the brothers were called "fucking Muslims" and "terrorists." Hany attempted to explain that he and his brother were being detained only on immigration violations, but one MDC CO said, "If you open your mouth, I will crush you under the elevator, just like at the World Trade Center." TAC ¶ 195.
The abuse of Yasser and Hany upon arrival at the MDC caused serious injury to their arms and noses, both of which remained black and swollen for several days. The injuries to their noses made breathing difficult and painful. Yasser and Hany received a physical examination on October 2, 2001, the day after their arrival. Nina Lorenzo, the physician assistant who performed the exams, did not ask about or treat their obvious injuries. The brothers were placed in separate cells and were not allowed to see or speak to one another for 35 days.
On October 17, Hany and Yasser were served with Notices to Appear. On November 5, 2001, they were moved into the same cell. On the next day, November 6, 2001, they were brought in handcuffs, chains, and shackles, to Immigration Judge Alan Vomacka. On the way to the hearing, CO Scott Rosebery whispered to Yasser, "The camera is your best friend. If not for the camera, I would have smashed your faces, you mother fuckers." TAC ¶ 186. Yasser attempted to tell the immigration judge what Rosebery had said to him but the judge interrupted him, stating, "I don't care. This is not my job." Id.
Yasser and Hany were heard together in a closed immigration hearing. Marianne Yang, a Legal Aid attorney, represented both men and requested that they be granted voluntary departure and bond. "The Immigration Judge, however, denied the request, after [an FBI or INS agent who was present but did not enter an appearance] handed him a note off the record, stating that he could not grant bond until he received 'clearance.'" TAC ¶ 187. The hearing was adjourned until November 20, 2001, when the judge denied the request for bond on the ground that Yasser and Hany were "disappearance risks." Id. Yasser and Hany accepted final deportation orders, having been informed that they would be removed within four to five days. No appeals were taken from these orders.
FBI memos dated December 7, 2001 state that clearance checks on Yasser and Hany were "negative," and "note with respect to [Yasser] that links to terrorist groups appear negative." TAC ¶ 190.
On January 17, 2002, Hany was transferred to MDC's general population unit. The INS booked a flight to deport Hany on February 1, 2002 and issued an order to escort him to JFK, but this order was not carried out. Yasser remained in the ADMAX SHU for the duration of his detention.
Yasser and Hany were regularly subjected to physical abuse while in the ADMAX SHU, particularly when being transported between their cells and other locations. They allege, for example, that MDC defendants slammed them against walls, twisted their arms, made their handcuffs painfully tight, and stepped on and kicked their ankle shackles.
The brothers were also regularly subjected to verbal abuse. On one occasion, when Hany asked for pen and paper, defendant Barrere responded, "Are you going to write to Osama bin Laden?" TAC ¶ 73. When Yasser raised the issue of human rights to defendant Shacks, he allegedly responded: "Forget about human rights. Three thousand people died in the World Trade Center. You have no rights." TAC ¶ 198.
Hany was released and deported on May 29, 2002, six months and nine days after the immigration judge had ordered him removed. Yasser was released and deported on June 6, 2002, six months and 17 days after he had been ordered removed. When the men were deported, they were put on a plane to Cairo without any money or any of the personal belongings confiscated from them when they were arrested.
Upon their respective arrivals in Cairo, Yasser and Hany were "summoned to Egyptian State Security Investigations, where each was detained and extensively interrogated for hours on his detention in the United States." TAC ¶ 200.
Yasser's and Hany's detention in the United States continues to plague the two men both psychologically and physically. Hany in particular has struggled, suffering a "nervous breakdown" after returning to Egypt. It was not until March 2003 that either brother had recuperated sufficiently to be able to work.
Ashraf Ibrahim, a citizen of Egypt, entered the United States on a six-month visa on January 23, 1992 and remained in the United States for the next ten years. In late August 2001, Ashraf started a bottled-water distribution business in Philadelphia.
On September 23, 2001, FBI and INS agents came to Ashraf's home and asked him to sign a document consenting to a search of the home, which Ashraf signed. The agents interrogated Ashraf for about two hours regarding his whereabouts on September 11, 2001 and whether he was involved in the attacks. Ashraf stated that he had no involvement with terrorism. Ashraf requested to make a phone call but the request was denied. The agents confiscated "all of the possessions" in his home, including money. TAC ¶ 224.
Later that morning, Ashraf was taken to the Varick Street facility where he was again interrogated for approximately seven hours. Ashraf made repeated requests to make a phone call but was not permitted to do so. Following this interrogation, Ashraf was handcuffed, put in waist and ankle chains, and driven by van to the MDC.
Upon arrival at the MDC, an officer got into the van, told Ashraf to "open [his] fucking mouth," and pointed a flashlight into his mouth. Two MDC defendants then dragged Ashraf by his arms to the R&D area. The officers shoved Ashraf against the wall, stunning him and causing him great pain. The officers forcefully pressed Ashraf against the wall for several minutes. Lieutenant Gussak, who was in charge of the officers, observed the abuse but did nothing to stop it. Gussak told Ashraf that "if you make any move, you will hit the floor and you will hit it hard." TAC ¶ 226.
While being taken for fingerprinting, the officers held Ashraf's arms while forcing him to run at an unmanageable pace for a person in ankle restraints. In addition, officers standing behind him would step on his ankle chains, causing him to fall forwards. The pain and bruising from this treatment persisted for about three weeks; the injuries were never treated.
After Ashraf was fingerprinted, Lt. Gussak conducted a strip search, including ordering Ashraf to move his fingers through his pubic hair and lift his genitals, and then bend over and spread his buttocks for a visual examination. Ashraf was then taken by elevator to the ADMAX SHU on the ninth floor. In the elevator, officers slammed Ashraf into the wall. When he reached the ADMAX SHU, he was received by a new team of guards and again strip searched, even though he had been under continuous supervision and in hand and leg restraints since the first strip search took place.
For the first 25 days Ashraf was in the ADMAX SHU, he was subjected to a communications blackout, despite his repeated requests for permission to make phone calls and his scheduled hearings before an immigration judge. He continued to be prohibited from making legal calls even though at a hearing before Immigration Judge Vomacka, on October 3, 2001, the judge told MDC officers that Ashraf should be permitted to contact a lawyer. Ashraf was allowed to make calls after October 17, 2001, but he alleges that defendant Cotton would limit his ability to call his attorney by, among other means, purposely dialing wrong numbers, telling Ashraf the number he requested was busy and that he would have to try again "next week" or "next month," and generally making legal calls available only between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m., before most attorneys began work.
For the first five months of Ashraf's detention, he was never allowed to leave his cell without being strip searched, handcuffed, chained, and shackled. Ashraf alleges that defendant Beck routinely over-tightened his restraints. During transportation to and from his cell, Ashraf was pushed or slammed against the wall for "pat-down" searches. Whenever defendant Chase conducted pat-down searches, he would grab Ashraf's genitals and squeeze them until it caused Ashraf acute pain.
Especially during the first five months, Ashraf was physically and verbally harassed by MDC defendants. Defendant McCabe was frequently violent towards Ashraf, pushing him into walls while escorting him to or from his cell. Defendants Beck and Barrere observed officers under their supervision "hurting, insulting, or harassing" Ashraf, but did nothing to stop the abuse. TAC ¶ 242. Further, Beck inappropriately insulted Ashraf on occasion, and Barrere "made a point of intimidating and scaring Ashraf." Id.
Ashraf alleges several specific incidents of physical abuse. On September 24, 2004, Officers Diaz and Machado slammed Ashraf's back into the wall and held him there while his photograph was taken. On October 3, 2001, on the way to immigration court, Ashraf was slammed into the wall and subjected to a pat-down search. In the elevator, Officer Rosebery told him to "spread your fucking legs," and then stepped on his ankle chain while two other officers held him up, causing him great pain. Ashraf informed Immigration Judge Vomacka that he had been treated violently in the elevator. On the way back from court, Rosebery again told him to spread his legs and again stepped on his ankle chain. Similar abuse took place while Ashraf was being taken to and from immigration hearings on October 11, 16, and 25, resulting in badly bruised ankles. On October 11, 2001, after Ashraf was strip searched and shackled in preparation for an immigration hearing, defendant Chase conducted a pat down search, intentionally squeezing Ashraf's genitals. Finally, beginning in mid-October 2001, defendant Barnes began a practice of twisting Ashraf's fingers while Ashraf was being held face to the wall. Barnes continued to twist Ashraf's fingers at every opportunity.
On October 11, 2001, Ashraf was brought for a bond hearing in immigration court. No immigration judge was present, and therefore no bond determination was made. On October 16, 2001, Ashraf had a hearing in immigration court.*fn7
On October 22, 2001, Ashraf was interrogated by INS and FBI agents for about two hours. These agents told Ashraf that "if he could not provide any information about September 11 he would stay in jail forever." TAC ¶ 245. An INS agent also allegedly told Ashraf that "his chance to get out of this jail is very slim." Id.
On October 25, 2001, Al-Shawi, an attorney retained for Ashraf by a friend, came to represent him at an immigration hearing scheduled for that day. The officers at the front desk of the MDC told Al-Shawi that there was no one by the name of "Ashraf Ibrahim" at the MDC.
On November 6, 2001, a hearing was held with Al-Shawi present. Immigration Judge Vomacka denied Ashraf's request for bond in order to collect his belongings (which had been acquired over ten years of living in New York), and issued a final order of removal. The judge told Ashraf that he would be deported shortly because there was a limit to the time he could be detained after the issuance of a final deportation order.
On March 28, 2002, four months and 22 days after he was ordered removed, Ashraf was escorted in handcuffs to Kennedy Airport and deported to Egypt. Upon arrival, he was taken to the Egyptian State Security Investigation Office, where he was interrogated and detained overnight. The next morning, he was taken to a Cairo jail and detained there for another three days before he was released.
As a result of his detention, Ashraf experiences severe depression and anxiety. He saw a psychiatrist after returning to Egypt.
Jaffri, a Muslim and native of Pakistan, immigrated to Canada. His wife and four children live in Lahore, Pakistan. Since May 1997, Jaffri has periodically visited family and friends in the United States, entering this country from either Canada or Pakistan on tourist visas. In September 2001, Jaffri was living and working illegally in the Bronx.
On September 27, 2001, approximately ten INS and FBI agents, accompanied by a United States Department of Labor official and several police officers, went to the apartment where Jaffri was staying. They searched Jaffri's room and found several stun guns belonging to other occupants of the apartment. Jaffri was arrested and charged with criminal possession of a weapon. The charges were dismissed two days later because Jaffri did not own the stun guns.
On September 28, 2001, Jaffri was taken from the apartment to an INS facility in Manhattan, where FBI and INS agents interrogated him about his possible involvement in terrorist activity. At no point during this interrogation was Jaffri given Miranda warnings. An FBI agent asked Jaffri to sign a form consenting to the search of his room, which had already taken place, and Jaffri refused. The agent allegedly responded, "Now you will learn the hard way." TAC ¶ 171. Jaffri requested that the Pakistani Consulate be notified, and requested a hearing before an immigration judge.
On September 29, 2001, Jaffri was taken to the MDC, where he was strip searched, fingerprinted, and given an orange jumpsuit. All his personal possessions were confiscated and he was placed in a cold, solitary, windowless cell in the ADMAX SHU. Jaffri remained confined in that cell nearly every day for the next six months. Although there were other post-September 11 detainees held in adjoining cells, Jaffri was forbidden to talk to them and vice-versa. The MDC defendants threatened to cut off visits from Jaffri's attorney if he broke the rule prohibiting communication with detainees in adjoining cells.
For the first two months of his detention, Jaffri was denied a bar of soap. He received only two squares of toilet paper per day and his meals were served without eating utensils. For months he was denied all reading material.
Jaffri was subjected to repeated physical and verbal abuse. Specifically, plaintiffs allege that when Jaffri was first brought to the ADMAX SHU, he was told by an MDC defendant, that "whether you [participated in the September 11 attacks] or not, if the FBI arrested you, that's good enough for me. I'm going to do to you what you did." TAC ¶ 176. Several MDC defendants then slammed Jaffri's head into a wall, severely loosening his lower front teeth and causing him extreme pain. Id. As a result of this blow, Jaffri experienced pain in his mouth throughout his detention. He requested to see a dentist six times, but was seen only once in 2001 and once again in late March 2002. The March 2002 visit revealed advanced bone loss, advanced periodontal disease, and the need to have "many teeth" extracted. Id.
Whenever Jaffri was taken out of his cell, he was strip searched and placed in handcuffs, chains, and shackles. He was usually escorted by at least four MDC officers, who abused him en route by, for example, kicking his handcuffs and shackles into his lower body. TAC ¶ 174.
On October 1, 2001, Jaffri was served with a Notice to Appear. Jaffri requested a re-determination of the decision to place him in custody, and signed a request for a merits hearing before an immigration judge.
On December 20, 2001, during a closed immigration hearing held at the MDC, an immigration judge ordered Jaffri's removal from the United States. No bond hearing was held prior to this hearing. Neither Jaffri nor the INS contested the removal order.
On April 1, 2002, three months and 12 days after the removal order, INS agents escorted Jaffri to LaGuardia Airport and put him on a plane to Canada. Neither his money nor his identification documents were returned to him.
Saffi is a Muslim native of Pakistan and a citizen of France. He currently resides on Reunion Island, in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar. He had been working for Pakistan International Airlines for 19 years when he came to the United States on July 6, 2001 on a three-month tourist visa. He first entered the country in Los Angeles to visit with friends there, then he flew to New York City, also to visit friends.
Saffi, who holds a Master's Degree in Political Science, is a "Microsoft Certified Professional," and earned money while in New York doing computer repair and data entry for a small business.
On September 29, 2001, before his visa expired, Saffi flew to Toronto, but immigration officials there refused to allow him to enter the country, so he returned to New York the following day.*fn8 Upon his arrival at LaGuardia Airport on September 30, 2001, he was arrested by FBI and INS agents. Saffi, who is fluent in English, was interrogated by an INS agent and taken to the INS facility on Varick Street.
At the Varick Street facility, Saffi was interrogated by two FBI agents for about two hours. The FBI agents accused him of taking part in the September 11 terrorist attacks. They allegedly told him, "You will be rotting in jail if you don't give us names," and "Muslims are terrorists and we know you are one of them." TAC ¶ 34. They took two address books from Saffi and threatened that he would be in serious trouble if any person he associated with was "suspicious." Id. At the request of an INS official, Saffi signed a written statement that he had been working in the United States without authorization. Saffi requested to contact the French consulate, but that request was never granted, even after he put the request in writing.
On the following day, October 1, 2001, Saffi was moved to the MDC with eight other detainees in two vans. He was transported there with chains around his waist and shackles around his legs. Lieutenant Pray and four or five MDC officers dragged Saffi into the R&D area, slamming his face against several walls along the way. He was strip searched and given an orange jumpsuit to wear. His personal items, including money, were confiscated.
Plaintiffs allege that several MDC defendants led Saffi, still in handcuffs, chains and shackles, to the ADMAX SHU. On the way there, the officers banged his head and slammed him against the walls, kicked him, and verbally abused him. When they arrived at the ADMAX SHU, Saffi was again strip searched and subjected to further physical abuse. MDC officers bent his thumbs back so far he could not use them for ten days, stepped on his bare feet, and pushed him into a wall so hard that he lost consciousness. When Saffi fainted, the officers kicked him in the face and ribs. Lieutenant Beck called Saffi a "'terrorist,' boasting that [he] could expect continued harsh treatment because of his involvement in the September 11th terrorist attacks." TAC ¶ 154. Beck vowed to make Saffi's detention as horrible as possible, and threatened to punish Saffi "if he even so much as smiled." Id. Beck also said that Saffi had killed 7,000 people,*fn9 and threatened to beat him if he did not behave.
Saffi was placed in a ten foot by six foot windowless cell with another post-September 11 detainee. The cell was cold and uncomfortable. Saffi was confined to this cell all day, nearly every day, for the next five months.
Initially, Saffi was denied all reading material. Though he was subsequently given a copy of the Bible, it was not until mid-December 2001 when he was given a copy of the Koran. Saffi was still unable to read for several more days because his eyeglasses had been confiscated upon his arrival. On December 18, 2001, Saffi was brought to an eye doctor and given new glasses.
While in detention, Saffi had difficulty practicing his religion. He was denied Halal food. Once, Saffi asked Lieutenant Torres for Halal food, and she responded that the MDC is a jail, not a hotel, and that Saffi should ask Allah for food.*fn10 For the first month, MDC defendants constantly interrupted him during his morning prayers. They also refused to inform him of the time of day, making it impossible for him to know when to conduct his daily prayers.
The MDC defendants also "swore at [Saffi], belittled and insulted his religion, and degraded him. They called him a 'religious fanatic' and a 'terrorist.'" TAC ¶ 159.
On October 8, 2001, the District Director of the INS for the New York District issued a removal order for Saffi. On October 14, 2001, two FBI and two INS agents interrogated Saffi on various topics, including his family in France, his work for Pakistan International Airlines, his religious faith and his political views. During this interrogation, Saffi again denied any involvement in terrorist activity. A report by one of the FBI agents who interviewed Saffi "recommended that Saffi be allowed to return to France," stating that "Saffi's interview and the subsequent investigation ... revealed nothing to indicate that Saffi had any knowledge of the attack on the World Trade Center, or any other terrorist activity." TAC ¶ 161.
On October 17, 2001, the removal order "appears to have been served to Saffi." TAC ¶ 162. Saffi asked an INS official whether he needed a lawyer and was told that he did not since the INS would soon put him on a plane back to France. Id.
On November 2, 2001, Kenneth Maxwell, FBI Special Agent in Charge, wrote to Daniel Molerio, INS Assistant Director for Investigations in New York, to inform him that the FBI did not have an investigative interest in Saffi relating to the events of September 11.
On December 18, 2001 an INS agent and a NYPD detective interrogated Saffi at the MDC, again questioning him about his family, religious and political views, and his work for Pakistan International Airlines. Saffi again denied any involvement with terrorists. At the end of this interrogation, the two officers assured Saffi that he would soon be released.
On March 5, 2002, four months and 18 days after the issuance of his removal order, INS agents took Saffi to LaGuardia Airport and put him on an airplane to France without the money or the employment and identification cards that had been confiscated from him.
Pakistan National Airlines has initiated proceedings to terminate Saffi's employment, allegedly because, as a result of his detention in the United States, he has been deemed a security risk. Saffi suffers both emotional and psychological effects from his detention in the United States. He has great difficulty, for example, sleeping at night because he continues to dwell upon what happened to him at the MDC.
2. The Passaic Plaintiffs
Turkmen, a Muslim Imam, is a citizen of Turkey. He came to the United States on October 4, 2000, on a six-month tourist visa to visit a friend from Turkey, who lived on Long Island in New York. Shortly after his arrival, Turkmen found work at a service station in Bellport, New York. He worked there until January 2001, when he took a job at another service station in the same town. In April 2001, he left that job and began to work part-time for a local Turkish construction company.
Turkmen spoke virtually no English when he first arrived in the United States. During his stay, he learned only the words necessary for his limited daily interaction with English-speakers. At the time that he was taken into custody, Turkmen understood very little spoken English, and he could not read English at all.
On October 13, 2001, two FBI agents visited Turkmen at the apartment where he was staying with several Turkish friends in West Babylon, New York. They asked him whether he had any involvement in the September 11 terrorist attacks and whether he had any association with terrorists. They also inquired as to his immigration status. Turkmen had difficulty understanding the questions posed to him by the FBI, ...