NEW YORK: The U.S. government has agreed to pay $300,000 to an Egyptian man who was detained for nearly a year following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks but was never linked to terrorism, his lawyer said.
Attorney Haeyoung Yoon, who represents Ehab El Maghraby, said she believed it was the first settlement involving the claims of people detained after Sept. 11. The settlementwas filed in Brooklyn federal court on Monday, she said.
El Maghraby, a former restaurant worker, was held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn from Oct. 1, 2001, until August 2002, Yoon said. He was not charged with any crime connected to terrorism but pleaded guilty to credit card fraud and was deported in August 2003.
El Maghraby maintains he s innocent of the credit card fraud, Yoon said.
In a lawsuit filed in August 2004, El Maghraby and a Pakistani man, Javaid Iqbal, claimed their rights were violated in U.S. custody and sought compensatory damages. Their lawsuit named former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and dozens of other federal officials.
El Maghraby said he was shackled, shoved into walls, punched and called a terrorist and epithets at the facility. Yoon said he was subjected to repetitive strip searches and a correction officer penetrated his anal cavity with a flashlight.
While in custody, a thyroid condition was misdiagnosed as asthma, worsening it, Yoon said.
Voice mail boxes for the Department of Justice were full Monday night and couldn t accept messages from The Associated Press seeking comment on the settlement, inwhich the government did not admit wrongdoing.
Despite the fact that the U.S. admitted no wrongdoing, Yoon said, they are compensating Mr. El Maghraby for the injuries he suffered.
The Metropolitan Detention Center was cited for brutal treatment of detainees in a 2003 report by the Department of Justice s inspector general.
The settlement, first reported by The New York Times, must be approved by a federal judge. Iqbal s case against the government continues.
More than 80 men were classified as suspected terrorists and were jailed in high-security cells at the Brooklyn facility between Sept. 14, 2001, and Aug. 27, 2002. AP