ACLU of Oregon Offers Free Attorneys to Targets of Justice Department "Dragnet" Investigation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PORTLAND, OR–The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon announced today that it has recruited more than 20 attorneys from around the state who have volunteered to represent without charge more than 200 individuals in the state who expect to be contacted for interviews as part of a Justice Department “”dragnet”” investigation.
“”The goal of the ACLU of Oregon is to help individuals provide the information that the federal government really needs while also protecting the legal rights of those who are interviewed,”” said ACLU of Oregon Executive Director David Fidanque. “”We have been in contact with members of the Muslim and Middle Eastern communities who want to cooperate with law enforcement officials, but also want to ensure that the legal rights of individuals are protected.””
The ACLU applauded the Portland, Corvallis and Hillsboro police departments for choosing not to participate in the dragnet investigation. “”We are proud that Oregon cities were among the first in the nation to point out the problems with the Justice Department’s tactics,”” Fidanque said. “”They are no longer alone. San Francisco, San Jose and Detroit are among the other cities that have chosen not to participate at this time, and we hope others will follow.
Nevertheless, the interviews ordered by Attorney General Ashcroft are already underway and will be completed by other federal, state and local law enforcement agents.
Individuals who are contacted by the FBI or other law enforcement personnel should telephone the nearest ACLU of Oregon office. The ACLU will attempt to refer those individuals to appropriate attorneys as quickly as possible so that they can get the legal advice they need and appropriately comply with the Justice Department request for interviews.
Nationwide, the ACLU has produced and distributed a “”Know Your Rights”” pamphlet aimed at educating targeted communities of their rights during a police investigation. It is available in English, Arabic and Spanish and can be downloaded at /node/9192
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The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.