Muslim Americans challenge US ‘no fly’ list in appeals court
By Rizwan Khatik - Sat May 12, 3:05 am
Portland: Lawyers for the 15 Muslims in the United States barred from boarding commercial flights because they were on the US “no-fly” list will on Friday ask a federal appeals court to reinstate their constitutional challenge of the anti-terrorism measure.
The plaintiffs, who are US citizens or permanent legal residents, said they learned they were on the list when they were prohibited, without advance warning, from boarding a commercial airliner, and were later denied any means of petitioning the government to be removed from the roster.
“The government has created this secret list, and the people on the list have no way of defending themselves,” said Nusrat Choudhury, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), who is representing the group, which filed a lawsuit against the US government in June 2010.
The “no-fly” list, established in 2003 and administered by the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, includes some 20,000 people identified by the agency as known to have or reasonably suspected of having ties to terrorism. About 500 of them are US citizens, according to an agency spokesman.
The plaintiffs, who are residents of Oregon and other states and include four veterans of the US armed forces, deny any links to terrorism. “None of the plaintiffs pose any threat to airline security,” Choudhury said.