Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Former University of Idaho Running-Back Held Naked and Chained By Feds


Now that I've gotten your attention with the title, this case is actually about terrorism laws going too far.

In my humble opinion, Abdullah al-Kidd--a U.S. citizen I might add--has very good grounds to sue for colossal amounts of damages in addition to challenging the legality of the use of the material-witness statute. The law is not intended to be used for preventative detention of terrorism suspects, no matter how wise such a policy may be.

(This is not to say I endorse such a law. My point is that even if such a law is a good idea, it would need to be legally passed by Congress and signed by the president. Rule of law is a good thing.)

Subjecting anyone to what sounds like Abu Ghraib treatment is bad enough; having American law enforcement do it to an American citizen is even worse. After all, the primary purpose of the state is to protect the lives, liberties, and properties of its citizens. 

For the record, some googling of al-Kidd's name shows he may have been involved in suspicious activities (associating with a foreign sheikh charged with fraud, frex), but how he was treated was grossly disproportionate.  If the concern was that he was traveling to Saudi Arabia to avoid U.S. law enforcement, detaining him and requiring him to surrender his passport as a condition of release could solve that problem without the lengthy detention, the unpleasant treatment while detained, etc.

It's good to hear the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit agrees with me that this was a really bad thing and that the Supreme Court is willing to at least hear the case.

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