The US Supreme Court agreed on Monday to decide whether former Attorney General John Ashcroft can be held personally responsible for the detention and interrogation of an American Muslim who was wrongly suspected of involvement with terrorists.
Abdullah Al-Kidd, a former football star at the University of Idaho who converted to Islam, was arrested and handcuffed by FBI agents at Dulles International Airport as he was about to fly to Saudi Arabia in 2003. He was held in a high-security jail cell and interrogated.
The warrant that authorized his arrest said nothing of criminal wrongdoing. Federal agents did not possess the probable cause necessary to justify his arrest as a criminal suspect. Instead, they relied on a federal statute that authorizes the temporary detention of a witness to ensure the witness will be available to testify at a trial.
Mr. Kidd was never called to testify at a trial. He was never charged with a crime.