I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Letter to DOJ from Gulet Mohamed's lawyer

Mr. Eric W. Treene
Special Counsel for Religious Discrimination
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20530

Via E-Mail:

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


Gadeir Abbas, Esq.

Cc: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama, FBI Director Robert Mueller, Rep. James Moran, Sen. James Webb