Supreme Court Will Hear Whether Man Detained Without Charge Can Sue John Ashcroft

October 18, 2010 6:38 a.m.

The Supreme Court today agreed to hear an appeal from former Attorney General John Ashcroft, who claims he should be immune from a lawsuit brought by a Muslim U.S. citizen who was detained for two weeks without charge in 2003 as part of a terrorism investigation.

Ashcroft has claimed total immunity from the lawsuit. At question is whether he is entitled to such immunity, according to SCOTUSblog.Ashcroft was sued in 2005 by the ACLU on behalf of Abdullah al-Kidd, an American citizen who was detained in March 2003 as a “material witness” in a terrorism investigation. According to the Washington Independent, al-Kidd was detained in high-security prisons for 16 days, strip-searched and shackled. When they released him, he was ordered to live with his in-laws, restrict his travel to four states and submit to home visits for a year. He was never charged or called to testify.

In Sept. 2009, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Ashcroft does not have immunity and can be sued. In the ruling, a judge called al-Kidd’s detention “repugnant to the Constitution.”

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