Muslim civil rights group calls on DOJ to probe denial of constitutional rights
TAMPA, Fla., Sept. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-FL) today called on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate a pattern of "egregious" civil rights violations and abuse by the FBI targeting associates of Ibragim Todashev, who was shot and killed by an FBI agent after hours of interrogation in the Chechen immigrant's home.
Video: CAIR-FL Claims FBI Harassing Friends of Muslim Shot by Agency
CAIR-FL reports that the alleged violations of constitutional rights included the denial of the Fifth Amendment right to an attorney.
According to CAIR-FL, a number of friends and associates of Todashev have come forward to complain of frivolous investigations, intimidation and unlawful threats by the FBI.
Most recently, Ashur Miraliev, who assisted Todashev's father, Abdul Baki Todashev, and drove the senior Todashev to all his meetings during his stay in Orlando, was arrested by the FBI on September 18. When informed of the arrest, CAIR-FL attorneys immediately contacted the U.S. attorney's office and the FBI and asked to speak to Miraliev and requested that he not be questioned without his attorney present.
Despite being his legal counsel, CAIR-FL attorneys were not able to meet with Miraliev until yesterday. At that point, CAIR-Florida learned that Miraliev was questioned for more than six hours after his arrest, not about any alleged criminal activity he participated in, but about everything he knew concerning Ibragim Todashev.
Since his arrest, and throughout the interrogation, Miraliev reportedly told the agents that he wanted to speak with his attorneys and that he wanted his attorneys present. The FBI agents allegedly responded: "That is not happening."
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution mandates that law enforcement authorities must cease any questioning of individuals in custody once they ask for an attorney and that they must be allowed to contact an attorney. CAIR-FL says FBI reportedly ignored Miraliev's repeated requests for an attorney and continued to question him in violation of the law.
CAIR-Florida Civil Rights Director Thania Diaz Clevenger, Esq., made the following statement:
"This egregious conduct by the FBI shows that some agents have little regard for the fundamental rights protected by the Constitution and are engaging in gross violations of the Bill of Rights. It is simply unacceptable for the FBI to continue to question our client and deny his requests to speak with his legal counsel. It fits the pattern of abuse and troubling behavior by FBI agents beginning in the days prior to the killing of the unarmed Ibragim Todashev. One can only wonder if Mr. Todashev was denied his rights to legal council during the questioning that ultimately resulted in his death."
While conducting its own independent investigation, CAIR-FL has received several corroborating reports from associates of Todashev that FBI agents have threatened to wrongfully arrest them unless they became informants and spied on local mosques, Muslim restaurants and hookah lounges.
"The DOJ must rein in the atrocious abuse of ethics and the rule of law by overzealous agents who have apparently disregarded the protections enshrined in our Constitution, which are essential to maintaining liberty and justice in our legal system. We also urge community members never to be intimidated by abusive law enforcement tactics and to maintain their right to remain silent and their right to an attorney when approached by FBI agents," said CAIR-Florida Executive Director in Tampa Hassan Shibly, Esq.
Visit CAIR-FL's link Todashev vs FBI for the very latest on this developing issue.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Hassan Shibly, Esq. 813-541-4321, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations