WASHINGTON: A US District Court Judge Anna Brown in Portland has ordered the US government to revise its post-September 11 no-fly list, ruling it violates American’s constitutional rights to travel freely and to effectively challenge being blacklisted because of alleged links to terrorism, reports US Today on Tuesday.
“The court concludes international travel is not a mere convenience or luxury in this modern world. Indeed, for many international travel is a necessary aspect of liberties sacred to members of a free society,” wrote U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown in Portland, Ore. “Accordingly, on this record the court concludes plaintiffs inclusion on the no-fly list constitutes a significant deprivation of their liberty interests in international travel.”
She ruled that the Department of Homeland Security’s process for challenging inclusion on the list “does not provide a meaningful mechanism for travelers who have been denied boarding to correct erroneous information in the government’s terrorism databases.”
Thirteen American Muslims, including four military veterans, filed suit in 2010 after they were barred from boarding aircraft to or from the United States because their names were on the secret no-fly list, which is compiled from information deemed classified. All are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and all have denied any involvement with terrorism, and none was charged with any crime.
All had submitted applications to Homeland Security asking why their names were on the list, but DHS provided no explanations and would not say whether they would be allowed to fly in the future.
In 2011, Brown dismisses the suit on procedural grounds, but a year later she was overruled by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which returned the case to her.
In her 65-page ruling, Brown said DHS must devise a “meaningful procedure” for disclosing how a person ended up on the list, because a traveler “who has not been given any indication of the information that may be in the record does not have any way to correct that information.” That, she wrote, violates due process guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
The FBI said last year the no-fly contained about 20,000 names, including 500 U.S. citizens.