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‘Terror’ witness can sue senior Bush official: court

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Saturday, Sept 5, 2009

Former US president George W. Bush’s top law enforcer John Ashcroft could be sued and held personally responsible for the wrongful detention of a US “terror” witness, a federal court of appeals said.

Placing responsibility on the shoulders of US officials in the Bush administration, and specifically Ashcroft, who was attorney general at the time, the judge at the ninth circuit court of appeals in Boise, Idaho ruled Friday in favor of Abdullah al-Kidd, an American citizen who brought the complaint.

The “aggressive detention of lawbreakers and material witnesses is vital to preventing, disrupting or delaying new attacks,” Ashcroft said at the time, in a statement quoted in court.

The decision Friday, however, came after a 2006 ruling that found material witness law could only be employed when an individual is genuinely sought as a witness and there was a flight risk; not to be used as a preventive action.

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This article was posted: Saturday, September 5, 2009 at 3:17 am

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