July 24, 2006

The last 9/11 detainee goes free without charges:
The last detainee's odyssey began Sept. 5, 2001, when, after overstaying a six-month visa, he crossed the border near Buffalo to seek asylum in Canada. After the Sept. 11 attacks, his background as a Muslim man with flight experience prompted Canadian officials to turn him over to U.S. authorities.

He spent the next six months in solitary confinement in a federal jail in Brooklyn. Though the FBI concluded he had no links to terrorism, he was eventually charged with carrying false identification — a case that was dropped after a federal magistrate found his right to due process had been violated.

The magistrate wrote in a 2003 decision that Benatta had been "undeniably deprived of his liberty," and "held in custody under harsh conditions which can be said to be oppressive."
After nearly 5 years in a US jail, Benemar Benatta, 32, is now seeking asylum in Canada after successfully avoiding deportation to his native Algeria, where he believed he would be jailed, tortured, or killed.


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