- Name: Glenn Greenwald
I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a Contributing Writer at Salon. I am the author of three books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and "Great American Hypocrites" (examining the GOP's electoral tactics and the role the media plays in aiding them).
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Letter to AG from Gulet Mohamed's lawyer
January 12, 2011
Mr. Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Attorney General of the United States
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
SUBJECT: Request for Justice Department Probe of FBI
Misconduct in Interrogation of American Muslim Teen
Detained in Kuwait
Dear Attorney General Holder:
I hope this letter finds you in the best of health and spirits.
It is my unfortunate duty to bring to your attention allegations of
official misconduct on the part of FBI agents who allegedly continued
interrogating my client, Mr. Gulet Mohamed, even after he repeatedly
invoked his constitutionally-guaranteed right to silence and to be
represented by an attorney.
As you may know, CAIR recently asked for an investigation by the
Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice into
allegations that Kuwaiti security personnel detained and tortured Mr.
Mohamed, a 19-year-old American citizen whose family lives in
Alexandria, Va. Mr. Mohamed believe he was detained at the behest of
In media reports about this case, U.S. government officials confirmed
that Mr. Mohamed has now been placed on a no-fly list. He remains in
detention pending deportation from Kuwait, despite the fact that no
American official has made any allegation of wrongdoing on his part.
Mr. Mohamed was previously visited by FBI agents who sought to
interrogate him. At that time, he informed the agents that he has an
attorney and that he does not wish to answer their questions.
Today, Mr. Mohamed and his family members report that he was again
visited in detention by two FBI agents. He again invoked his right to
silence and to be represented by his attorney.
Despite these declarations, the FBI agents reportedly continued to
question Mr. Mohamed for two hours. Some of their questions allegedly
touched on Mr. Mohamed's religious beliefs and practices, including
whether he has memorized the Quran and whether he had prayed his
morning (fajr) prayer. Other questions indicated to Mr. Mohamed that
the agents sought to make him a government informant on his return to
the United States.
Mr. Mohamed and his brother who was present during part of this
interrogation both say that the FBI agents became visibly angry with
and physically intimidating toward Mr. Mohamed, to the extent that
Kuwaiti officials reportedly intervened to protect him from the agents.
Based on these allegations, I respectfully request that your office
initiate an immediate investigation into the conduct of the FBI
agents involved and that appropriate actions be taken based on the
results of that investigation. It was manifestly unlawful for FBI
agents to continue their interrogation of Mr. Mohamed after he
requested the presence of his counsel.
All Americans, whatever their faith, deserve the same Fifth and Sixth
Amendment rights to due process of law and to be represented by an
attorney. Our government should demonstrate through its actions that
American Muslims have the same rights as other citizens and are not
subject to a two-tier system of justice in which their rights are not
acknowledged or respected.
If law enforcement officials have concerns about Mr. Mohammed or his
past actions, he should be allowed to return to the United States
where he may agree to being questioned in the presence of his
attorney -- free of the physical and psychological pressures of his
Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this important matter.
I may be contacted by phone at xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (mobile),xxxxxxxxxxxx (office)
or by e-mail at xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
Gadeir Abbas, Esq.
Mr. Gulet Mohamed's Attorney
President Barack Obama
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
FBI Director Robert Mueller
Mr. Eric Treene, Special Counsel for Religious Discrimination,
U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division
Rep. James Moran
Sen. James Webb
Thursday, January 06, 2011
Letter to DOJ from Gulet Mohamed's lawyer
Special Counsel for Religious Discrimination
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20530
Via E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Mr. Treene:
As you may recall, I copied you last week on a letter sent to the government of Kuwait requesting an investigation into allegations that Kuwaiti security personnel recently detained and tortured my client, Mr. Gulet Mohamed, an American citizen whose family lives in
Alexandria, Virginia. [Copies of the letter to the Kuwaiti government were also sent to the White House and the State Department.]
Mr. Mohamed reports that he went to the airport in Kuwait on December 20, 2010, to renew his visitor's visa to continue his Arabic studies in that country. He said that he had previously renewed his visa without incident. However, while waiting for his visa, Mr. Mohamed communicated via e-mail with his brother in the United States, indicating that there was a delay in the processing of his visa and that he suspected something was amiss. That was the last communication anyone had with Mr. Mohamed for more than a week.
In a conference call with me and other CAIR officials on December 28, 2010, Mr. Mohamed said he was taken into custody, blindfolded, handcuffed, and taken to a waiting SUV. Mr. Mohamed was reportedly held for more than a week at an undisclosed location by individuals
who told him they were with the "CIA of Kuwait." He states that during his lengthy interrogations, he was beaten in the face at least "one hundred times" and was hit with sticks on other parts of his body. This alleged torture occurred while Mr. Mohamed was blindfolded, handcuffed and unaware of his location or the identity of his interrogators.
The manner of his detention and the questions asked of Mr. Mohamed indicate to him that he was taken into custody at the behest of the United States. Over the weekend, Mr. Mohamed was visited by three FBI agents. He informed the agents that he had legal representation and that he did not wish to answer the agents' questions. The agents allegedly informed Mr. Mohamed that they could "facilitate" his release if he agreed to speak to them, but otherwise he might remain in custody for a lengthy period of time.
This troubling incident raises a number of questions that deserve answers.
1. Was Mr. Mohamed taken into custody at the behest of American authorities? If so, what was done to protect Mr. Mohamed from possible abuse by Kuwaiti security personnel?
2. Were American authorities aware of the torture allegedly being inflicted on Mr. Mohamed?
3. When American authorities were made aware of the allegations of torture by CAIR's letter to the Kuwaiti government, what actions were taken to protect Mr. Mohamed?
4. Have American authorities contacted the government of Kuwait to protest the alleged torture of an American citizen?
5. Did the FBI agents who sought to question Mr. Mohamed use his continued detention as a pressure tactic to force him to give up his constitutional right to silence or to have an attorney present when questioned?
Whatever concerns American or Kuwaiti officials may have about Mr. Mohamed, no one should be subjected to the kind of mistreatment that has been alleged in this case.
I therefore respectfully request that your department launch a full civil rights investigation of this incident and that appropriate actions be taken based on the results of that investigation.
I also request that the Department of State be urged to offer Mr. Mohamed all the protections due any American citizen and that his release be requested and facilitated.
Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this important matter. You may contact me by phone at xxx-xxx-xxxx (mobile), xxx-xxx-xxxx (office) or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Gadeir Abbas, Esq.
Cc: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama, FBI Director Robert Mueller, Rep. James Moran, Sen. James Webb