Tlaib, Omar welcome ‘tremendous’ decision ruling US terror list unconstitutional
A federal judge ruled that the inclusion in the list infringes upon the right to due process.
US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has expressed her appreciation after a US federal judge ruled that an FBI terror watchlist was unconstitutional.
“I have heard of horrifying stories of Muslim Americans who were placed on the so-called ‘watch list,’ with no pathway (you know, due process!) to getting their names removed. Today, it’s Muslims, but tomorrow it can be you, if we don’t stop this madness,” Tlaib, a Muslim-American of Palestinian descent, tweeted on Thursday.
Also US Representative Ilhan Omar, who arrived in the US as a refugee from Somalia as a child, called the decision “tremendous.”
“Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to make sure Constitutional rights are extended to all regardless of religion, race or ethnicity!” she added on Twitter.
Judge Anthony J. Trenga of the Eastern District of Virginia ruled in favor of 23 Muslim Americans who were included in the list, the Washington Post reported.
They had sued the FBI on the ground that the inclusion infringed upon their constitutional right to due process.
Those included on the list have restrictions placed on their ability to travel, among others.
“There is no evidence, or contention, that any of these plaintiffs satisfy the definition of a ‘known terrorist,'” wrote Trenga, according to the Washington Post.
“An individual’s placement into the [watch list] does not require any evidence that the person engaged in criminal activity, committed a crime, or will commit a crime in the future,” the judge added, “and individuals who have been acquitted of a terrorism-related crime may still be listed.”
The list included about 1.2 million people, including 4,600 US citizens or residents as of July 2017.
According to the Associated Press, the FBI’s lawyers claimed in court that the challenges alleged by the plaintiffs were overshadowed by the government’s needs in their fight against terror – and that these efforts outweighed the difficulties alleged by the nearly two dozen Muslim American citizens on the list.
Several of them reported a range of traumatic experiences, such as being handcuffed and interrogated for many hours, without possible cause.
The Washington Post reported that the parties now have 45 days to submit their arguments and responses for how the watch list could be changed.
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