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The United States Supreme Court will now decide on the issue of granting immunity to former Attorney general Ashcroft on the issue of the treatment of detainees not related to terrorism during the 9/11 attacks.

“The petitioner was among more than 700 Arab and South Asian Muslim men from the New York City area rounded up after the September 11, 2001 attacks. While they were all eventually charged with immigration violations or minor crimes, none was linked to terrorism.

In his lawsuit, Iqbal alleges that Ashcroft and Mueller targeted the men for investigation and punitive detention, sidestepping procedural protections usually granted to such detainees.

Iqbal, who was held at a maximum security section of a Brooklyn federal prison, says he was subjected to harsh treatment and discrimination and that federal officials classified him as a “high interest” suspect because he was a Muslim from Pakistan.

A June 2003 report by the Department of Justice inspector general found “significant problems” in the treatment of detainees like Iqbal.”

Earlier, the Fed Court and state Supreme Court had denied giving immunity to the cabinet officials involved and now the US Supreme Court is seized of the matter. The fundamental issue of this case would be whether there should be any special legal immunity conferred to cabinet officials in the handling of terrorism and crisis situations. Should we expect another hamdan v. Rumsfled in the making here ?

An analysis of the case and its impact may be found here .

A summary preview of what to expect out of the case may be viewed here.