French 9/11 detainee sues US

9th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

SAINT-DENIS, Reunion Island, June 9 (AFP) - A Frenchman of Pakistani origin who was detained in New York for five months without charge after the September 11, 2001 attacks is suing US authorities, a French newspaper reported Wednesday.

SAINT-DENIS, Reunion Island, June 9 (AFP) - A Frenchman of Pakistani origin who was detained in New York for five months without charge after the September 11, 2001 attacks is suing US authorities, a French newspaper reported Wednesday.

Asif Safi, a 40-year-old from France's Indian Ocean island of Reunion, said a visa problem led to him being arrested as a suspected terrorist on September 30, 2001 while returning from a trip to Canada, the Quotidien de la Reunion daily said.

He claims to suffer emotional and psychological trauma from the episode, which saw him locked up with other suspects of Arab or Muslim background in a Brooklyn jail, where he said he suffered physical and verbal abuse according to the lawsuit prepared by a US group, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR).

The document claimed FBI agents stomped on Safi's feet, twisted his thumbs, beat him and threw him so violently against a wall he lost consciousness, the newspaper said.

When Safi was finally allowed to return home to his French wife and three children, the federal agents escorting him to the airport reportedly told him:

"We're sorry, we know you didn't do anything. You were just in the wrong place at the wrong time."

The CCR is helping Safi and several of the other detainees sue US Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI boss Robert Mueller, the newspaper said.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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