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Alexandria, Va. • For Yaseen Kadura, a U.S. citizen of Libyan descent, placement on the no-fly list caused problems far beyond the airport.
He was handcuffed and interrogated for hours when he tried to cross borders by land. He struggled to pick a medical school, unsure where he could travel. And when he tried to use Western Union, the transfers never went through. Even after he was removed from no-fly list, many of the problems persisted.
On Tuesday, the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights group, filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court in Alexandria on behalf of Kadura and thousands of other Americans who have been placed on the terror-watch list. The suit seeks unspecified monetary compensation.
Among the plaintiffs is a 4-year-old California boy, listed as Baby John Doe, who according to the lawsuit was placed on the list of known or suspected terrorists as a 7-month-old boy.
The FBI didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
The no-fly list and the larger, broader terrorist-watch list have been the subject of numerous lawsuits, which have been successful to varying degrees. The litigation has forced the government to make modest changes in its administration of the no-fly list: those who challenge their placement on the list are now informed of their status and given general information about the reason. Prior to that, the government wouldn't confirm whether an individual was on the list.
The lawsuit alleges that placement on the watch list is motivated by religious profiling rather than any real security threat.
While the lawsuits have dragged on for years, the no-fly list itself remains intact and the terrorist-watch list continues to expand.
The class-action suit provides several advantages, according to Gadeir Abbas, one of the lawyers who filed it. It allows those who were wrongly placed on the list to receive compensation. And it eliminates procedural difficulties that would occur when a plaintiff would challenge the list,