ACLU-MN alleges US citizen unlawfully detained

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota is suing the federal government on behalf of a U.S. citizen who alleges he was unlawfully detained.

The ACLU-MN filed the lawsuit Thursday in federal court in Minnesota on behalf of Ali Abdalla. Abdalla came to the U.S. as a Somali refugee. When his father became a U.S. citizen, Abdalla – who was a teenager at the time – automatically became one, too.

But Abdalla alleges U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement unlawfully held him for 11 months in three different jails – including for five months after a judge ruled he was a citizen while the government appealed.

Abdalla had suffered a traumatic brain injury at an old job, and officials at Nobles County Jail provided him anxiety medication, the ACLU-MN said. But when he was transferred to Sherburne County Jail, workers refused to let him take that medication, the organization alleges.

The lawsuit alleges false arrest, false imprisonment and deprivation of liberty without due process. It seeks damages and requests a jury trial.



A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Minneapolis did not immediately return a request for comment Thursday. Sherburne County Attorney Kathleen Heaney said she had not received the complaint and could not comment.

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