|In this photo taken Feb. 14, 2011, plaintiff Abdullah al-Kidd, right, and his attorney, American Civil Liberties Union Deputy Director of the Immigrants' Rights Project Lee Gelernt., (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)|
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Handcuffed and marched through Washington's Dulles International Airport in his Muslim clothing, the man with the long, dark beard could only imagine what people were thinking.
That scene unfolded in March 2003, a year and a half after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. One of the four planes hijacked in 2001 took off from Dulles. "I could only assume that they thought I was a terrorist," Abdullah al-Kidd recalled in an interview with The Associated Press.
Al-Kidd called his airport arrest "one of the most, if not the most, humiliating experiences of my life."
The humiliation had only just begun.
Over the next 16 days he would be strip-searched repeatedly, left naked in a jail cell and shower for more than 90 minutes in view of other men and women, routinely transported in handcuffs and leg irons, and kept with people who had been convicted of violent crimes. On a long trip between jails, a federal marshal refused to unlock al-Kidd's chains so he could use the bathroom.
In the midst of al-Kidd's detention, FBI Director Robert Mueller testified to Congress about recent major successes against terrorism. No. 1 on Mueller's list was the capture of professed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
No. 2 was the arrest of al-Kidd, a Kansas-born convert to Islam who was not charged with a crime — either then or later...
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