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Unintended Precedents

Author: Edward Alden, Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow
March 15, 2010
American Prospect


Javaid Iqbal lived for a decade on Long Island, working first as a 7-Eleven clerk, then as a gas station attendant, then as a cable-television installer. On Nov. 2, 2001, the Pakistani immigrant was arrested in his apartment by FBI agents acting on one of the many misleading tips that poured in after the September 11 attacks. He was taken to Brooklyn's Metropolitan Detention Center without any notification to his American wife or stepchildren. Two months after his arrest, he was moved to the jail's Administrative Maximum (ADMAX) unit, where he alleges he was beaten repeatedly and kept in solitary confinement under bright lights that shone 24 hours a day. He was forced outside on cold, rainy days and then left soaking in his jail cell while guards cranked up the air conditioner. He lost 40 pounds during his 14 months in detention and was deported in 2003.

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