At the Long Beach, California, airport, a 28 year-old married student, Halime Sat, tried to board a plane to Oakland. She was denied access. Ms. Sat, a resident of Corona, California, has suddenly been put on the government’s no-fly list. She has no criminal record nor affiliation with any outlawed organization anywhere in the world. The only crime committed by this young German citizen, who is married to an American: Flying while Muslim.
Ms. Sat is one of a ten plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed this week by the American Civil Liberties Union, alleging that thousands of people have been added to the no-fly list and barred from commercial travel, without any opportunity to learn about or refute the basis for their inclusion on the list. Plaintiffs in the case include a disabled U.S. Marine Corps veteran stranded in Egypt and a U.S. Army veteran stuck in Colombia.
Ms. Sat was only trying to fly from one place to another in the state where she is a permanent resident. Denying people such fundamental rights in complete secrecy and without due process is unconstitutional and un-American. They become pariahs, deemed unworthy to fly – but no one says why.
See also “Too scary to fly, not scary enough to arrest”, Wired, 30 June 2010