Gadeir Abbas, the lawyer for Gulet Mohamed, an American Muslim teenager detained in Kuwait, has called for an investigation after FBI agents allegedly continued to question his client in Kuwaiti custody despite the teen’s repeated requests for a lawyer and invocation of his right to remain silent. I wrote about the details of Abbas’ allegations and Mohamed’s plight earlier today. Here’s the text of the letter (I’ve redacted Abbas’ contact information):
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 American officials.
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. Mohamed 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 current detention.
Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this important matter. I may be contacted by phone at XXX-XXX-XXXX (mobile), XXX-XXX-XXXX (office) or by e-mail at XXXXXX@XXX.XXX.
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