NEW YORK – An Algerian man believed to be the last domestic detainee still in custody from a national dragnet after Nine-Eleven was set free this week, according to his lawyer.
Benemar Benatta spent five years in detention even though he was cleared of terrorism links in November 2001.
Though the FBI concluded Benatta had no links to terrorism, he was eventually charged with carrying false identification — a case that was dropped after a federal magistrate found his right to due process had been violated.
Despite the ruling, immigration officials kept Benatta in custody while he appealed a deportation order and renewed his quest for asylum based on a claim that, as a military deserter, he would be tortured or killed if he returned to Algeria.
Benatta has reportedly gone to Canada, where he is seeking political asylum.