Court: Ashcroft on Hook in Post-9/11 Detention Case

Bush attorney general slammed for imprisonment without charges
By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2009 7:36 PM CDT
Former Attorney General John Ashcroft testifies on Capitol Hill, July 17, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Former Bush attorney general John Ashcroft can be held personally responsible in a lawsuit brought by a US citizen who was detained on suspicion of being a material witness to terrorism but was never charged with a crime, an appellate court ruled today. Abdullah al-Kidd alleged the detention, begun in 2003, was unconstitutional and cost him his marriage and job; Ashcroft claimed immunity due to his position, the New York Times reports.

“We find this to be repugnant to the Constitution, and a painful reminder of some of the most ignominious chapters of our national history,” wrote Judge Milan Smith of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Spokesmen for the Justice Department and for Ashcroft said both were reviewing the decision.