Yesterday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government challenging the establishment of isolated cells in federal prisons. The ACLU is alleging that these solitary units were created in violation of federal law. The Administrative Procedure Act requires that before new rules are adopted, the public must be given notice and an opportunity to comment on them. The ACLU is alleging that this law was not complied with before these solitary units were created. These isolation cells within federal prisons were created in response to the terrorism threat. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Sabri Benkahla who is currently housed in one of these isolation cells in an Indiana prison. Benkahla was kidnapped by Saudi authorities in 2003 a day before his wedding. He was turned over to the FBI and brought to the United States. He was charged in federal court with supporting the Taliban and with violating firearms laws. He was only convicted of perjury in connection with the case and sentenced to 121 months in federal prison.
The ACLU is requesting that the Bureau of Prisons be enjoined from further operation of the solitary units, implement the statutory notice and comment requirements and set visiting hours for the inmates.
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