A federal judge issued a final decision on Tuesday finding that the U.S. government violated the due process rights of Dr. Rahinah Ibrahim, the former Stanford PhD student and Malaysian national who alleged that she had been erroneously placed on terrorist watch lists and prevented from reentering the United States.
Following a weeklong bench trial last December, Judge William Alsup found that “Once a plaintiff shows concrete, reviewable adverse government action has occurred, and, as here, shows that the action resulted from an error by the government, then the plaintiff is entitled by due process to a post-deprivation remedy that requires the government to cleanse and/or correct its lists and records of the mistaken information and to certify under oath that such correction(s) have been made. . .. In this connection, the government concedes that plaintiff is not a threat to our national security.”
“Justice has finally been done for our client, an innocent woman who was wrongly ensnared in the government’s flawed watch listing system,” said Elizabeth Pipkin, lead trial counsel at the law firm McManis Faulkner. Christine Peek, Ruby Kazi, and Jennifer Murakami of the firm also represented Dr. Ibrahim at the trial. The government was represented by attorneys from the Department of Justice.
McManis Faulkner brought suit on behalf of Dr. Ibrahim in 2006 after she was falsely arrested at San Francisco International Airport and prevented from boarding a flight. Before proceeding to trial in December 2013, the case was the subject of two ground-breaking Ninth Circuit rulings, holding that individuals can challenge the government’s watch listing decisions in court.
Public Notice and Summary of Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law After Bench Trial (Rahinah Ibrahim v. Department of Homeland Security, et. al.)