Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Touarsi v. United States DOJ

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

January 23, 2015

AMINE TOUARSI, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, et al., Defendants

Page 333

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 334

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 335

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 336

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 337

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 338

For AMINE TOUARSI, Plaintiff: Omar T. Mohammedi, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, LAW FIRM OF OMAR T. MOHAMMEDI, LLC, New York, NY; Alan Robert Kabat, BERNABEI & WACHTEL, PLLC, Washington, DC.

For UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, Defendants: Heather D. Graham-Oliver, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Washington, DC.

Page 339

MEMORANDUM OPINION

CHRISTOPHER R. COOPER, United States District Judge.

Fifteen years ago, Plaintiff Amine Touarsi was detained by immigration

Page 340

agents on suspicions of terrorism while he was in the United States awaiting a decision on his application for political asylum from Algeria. After being held for over a year, Touarsi was granted asylum and released without ever being charged with a crime. He has since become a U.S. citizen. Touarsi contends that his detention was unjustified and that federal law enforcement continues to hound him without cause. Seeking to establish government misconduct, Touarsi filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Federal Bureau of Investigations for records regarding his arrest and detention. The Department of Justice (" DOJ" ) and other relevant agencies provided Touarsi roughly 200 pages of records in response to his request but withheld approximately 350 other pages under various FOIA exemptions. Touarsi now brings suit to challenge the government's response. He does not dispute the adequacy of the government's search for records, but he contends that nearly every aspect of the government's decision to withhold records was improper, and he demands production of the withheld materials, expungement of his records, and attorney's fees. Without expressing judgment on the merits of Touarsi's complaints of mistreatment, the Court concludes that the agencies have adequately justified their FOIA withholdings and therefore will grant summary judgment in favor of the government.

I. Background

Amine Touarsi fled Algeria and applied for political asylum in the United States in 1996, claiming that extremist groups had targeted him because of his political associations. Affidavit of Amine Touarsi (" Touarsi Aff." ) ¶ ¶ 3-4. Three years after his arrival in the U.S., Immigration and Naturalization Service agents detained Touarsi upon suspicions that he was connected to a terrorist plot and held him in various detention facilities over the next year. Id. ¶ ¶ 3, 9-17. An Immigration Judge denied Touarsi's asylum application while he was detained, but Touarsi successfully appealed that decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals, obtained asylum, and was released. Id. ¶ ¶ 18-20. According to Touarsi, the media reported on his detention at the time and published his full name. Id. ¶ ¶ 6-8. Since his release, Touarsi claims that federal agents offered him an early green card in exchange for his becoming an informant, which he refused. Id. ¶ ¶ 22-23. Touarsi further alleges that he is questioned extensively whenever he returns to the United States from traveling abroad, that he lost a job as a taxi driver because his license was denied due to his detention, and that he " feel[s] like [he is] constantly under surveillance and cannot live a normal existence." Id. ¶ ¶ 25-36.

Seeking to learn more about the reasons for his arrest and detention, in March 2012 Touarsi submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for:

a. All records related to Mr. Touarsi's arrest and detention in 1999 through 2001.
b. All records related to Mr. Touarsi created and/or kept by the FBI.
c. All records related and relied upon on the investigation and the arrest of Mr. Touarsi. This includes, but [is] not limited to the outcome of the investigation and the release.
d. All records related to Mr. Touarsi's surveillance by law enforcement since 2001.
e. All records related to the FBI's visit to Mr. Touarsi in 1997 to offer him a Green Card in exchange for being an informant.
f. All records and documents related to investigations, reports, ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.