DALLAS (PRWEB) January 31, 2013
Directors for the Muslim Legal Fund of America, a national civil liberties defense organization, agreed to fund the lawsuit filed on behalf of Jamal Tarhuni, a U.S. citizen who was unable to board a return flight to his home in Oregon due to his name being on the government's no-fly list.
The lawsuit, Tarhuni v. Holder et al (Case Number 3:2013cv00001), was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon, Portland Division, earlier this month and states that government agents denied Tarhuni due process under the Fifth Amendment, rights of citizenship under the Fourteenth Amendment, assistance of legal counsel under the Fifth Amendment and other constitutionally-protected rights.
On January 17, 2012, Tarhuni was returning home from a humanitarian mission in Libya, where he provided assistance to Medical Teams International, an Oregon-based Christian relief organization. Agents refused to let him board his Air France flight from Tunis, Tunisia. According to the lawsuit, agents interrogated Tarhuni about his religious views and practices as well as his activities in Libya. Agents then attempted to convince Turhani to sign a document waiving his constitutional rights as a condition of being allowed to return home to his family in Oregon.
"No American should be detained and questioned because of his or her religion, ethnicity or for having a non-Anglo name," said Khalil Meek, Executive Director of MLFA. "We're all for security and keeping America safe, but indiscriminately convicting people and sentencing them to a no-fly list with no mechanism for defending themselves is against the values of justice we hold dear in America."
Tarhuni was finally allowed to fly home on February 14, 2012. However, the lawsuit also claims that Tarhuni has been prevented from boarding domestic flights, forcing him to travel by car or rail when representing Medical Teams International at a Nobel Peace Prize function in Minneapolis, attending meetings in Washington, D.C., and speaking at an event in Seattle. The government has failed to provide any remedy to challenge his inclusion on, or removal from, the no-fly list. Tarhuni is seeking $1 million in damages.
The Muslim Legal Fund of America (MFLA) is a national civil liberties legal fund that defends the U.S. Bill of Rights by supporting legal cases involving civil liberty encroachments. Established in 2001, MLFA has defended freedom of speech, freedom of religion, right to a fair trial, due process of law and many of our nation's civil liberties. To learn more about MLFA, visit http://www.mlfa.org.