ACLU: Megahed detention is vindictive

04/20/09 Seán Kinane
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Today the American Civil Liberties Union wrote to U.S. Homeland Security Administration Secretary Janet Napolitano asking her to release Youssef Megahed from the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Megahed was detained earlier this month, just days after a federal jury acquitted him of all criminal charges. He had been accused of possessing and transporting low-grade explosives after being arrested in South Carolina in 2007.

Becky Steele is West Central regional director of the ACLU of Florida. “We’re calling for the release of Youssef Megahed.” Steele says the ACLU has several concerns about ICE’s actions, including “the implications for civil liberties.”

Last week, several of the jurors who decided that Megahed was not guilty voiced concern that his detention by ICE went against their decision after weighing the evidence presented in court.

Another concern, Steele says, is what Megahed’s ICE detention means for the Tampa Bay community and for relationships with Arabs and Muslims.

During a press conference at the ACLU’s Tampa office, Youssef Megahed’s father, Samir Megahed, says that his family is sad that his son is being detained. Megahed says his son, who is in a Glades County jail, is being treated well.

Letter from ACLU to Homeland Security

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