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Bias Against Muslims In U.S. Prisons Detailed

Associated Press
Saturday, March 12, 2005; Page A07

The warden and guards at a federal prison discriminated and retaliated against Muslim inmates, the Justice Department's inspector general said yesterday in a report that also detailed allegations of mistreatment of Muslims at other U.S. lockups.

In one instance at the unidentified federal prison, the warden "unjustly and inappropriately" ordered an inmate transferred to special housing similar to solitary confinement for more than four months, Inspector General Glenn A. Fine said. The move came five days after the inmate talked to Fine's investigators.

Federal prosecutors declined to pursue criminal charges against the warden, and the incident was referred to the federal Bureau of Prisons, he said.

Treatment of Muslims was part of a semiannual report that Fine produces on possible civil rights or civil liberties violations by the Justice Department.

Fine also noted that the federal prison officials have yet to discipline anyone for abuse more than a year after he documented the mistreatment of Arabs and Muslims detained at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

In addition, prison officials told the inspector general they discovered more videotapes of the detainees at the Brooklyn facility, as well as of meetings between detainees and their attorneys. Previously disclosed tapes helped confirm that guards slammed detainees against walls, twisted their arms and conducted unnecessary strip searches. The prisons bureau and Fine are investigating why the other tapes were not given to them sooner.

Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Traci Billingsley said she had not seen Fine's report. "We take all allegations of staff misconduct very seriously, and all are thoroughly investigated by BOP's office of internal affairs," she said.


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