FIVE FREEDOMS: Counsel for American Islamic Relations [Press Release]
When Anas Elhady, a 21-year-old college student and American citizen, left his home in the United States and crossed into Canada for an evening visit with friends, he had no idea what would happen to him. Upon his return, he was immediately searched, handcuffed, and detained while Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers searched his car. They found nothing. No crime was even alleged, and no contraband found.
That did not stop CBP from taking his coat and shoes, transporting him to detainment, holding him for four and half hours in near-freezing conditions, interrogating him without an attorney present, and refusing to provide humane comfort, not even a blanket while he waited in a cell with an estimated temperature of 36℉.
Why? Because his name was on a list – the terror watchlist. Like so many Muslim Americans, Anas was profiled as a terrorist due to his country of origin.
You can push back today against UNpatriotic civil rights abuses like watchlist profiling, predatory surveillance, other unconstitutional Patriot Act provisions, and National Security policies that violate our rights. Help us continue to defend people like Anas and hold government agencies accountable for their systemic profiling of Muslims as terrorists.
In the freezing cell, Anas begged the officers who came and went to please return his coat and shoes. When they refused him that, he asked for a blanket, and finally he pleaded with them to take him to the hospital as he shivered uncontrollably. They refused and ignored him. Eventually, Anas became confused and disoriented, and his limbs went numb. Finally, he passed out on the floor wondering if his mother would ever know what happened to him. Only then was he transported by ambulance, where he received oxygen therapy and warmth. Upon his arrival at the ER, he was diagnosed with various cold exposure-related conditions including a lower than normal body temperature, decreased heart rate, and delayed capillary response; signs that he would have been at risk of hypothermia without the medical intervention he eventually received.
When he left home to visit friends in Canada, Anas did not think he would be risking his life. On the ice-cold floor of a CBP detainment cell, Anas thought he was dying and remembers wondering if his mother would ever know the reason why. This is what American citizens who have been placed on the terror watchlist are risking when they cross the border. Due process? Denied. Inhumane conditions? Ignored. Going to court is one of the quickest ways to end this nightmare for so many people and force government agencies like CPB to follow the law and treat EVERY American citizen with the rights guaranteed to us in the Constitution.
Your CAIR Team