Federal Court to Hear Arguments May 29 in Battle Over Government Secrecy About Sept. 11 Detainees

May 28, 2002 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON–A federal judge will hear oral arguments tomorrow in a challenge to the federal government’s continued refusal to disclose basic information about those individuals arrested and detained since September 11.

The case, The Center for National Security Studies, et al. vs. DOJ, was filed last December by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for National Security Studies and 20 other civil liberties and public access organizations.

Judge Gladys Kessler of the U.S. District Court in Washington will hear argument from each side on Wednesday morning. Kate Martin, Director of the Center for National Security Studies, will argue for the civil liberties groups.

The groups seek the identities of all individuals arrested or detained in connection with the Sept. 11 investigation. The Department of Justice has refused to provide the names of individuals secretly arrested and jailed on immigration charges or those held as material witnesses.

The policy of secret arrests and jailing has been rejected by a state court in New Jersey, and a federal appeals court recently rejected secret immigration hearings in a Michigan case. A similar challenge to closed hearings is underway in New Jersey.

With today’s hearing, the Department of Justice is now forced to defend its policy of mass secret arrests in federal court on a national level.

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