FOIA Suit: FBI, DOJ, and State Must Provide Records on Innocent Iraqi Refugee Omar Ameen

SACRAMENTO, CA. – For almost three years, the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, and the State Department falsely accused Iraqi refugee Omar Ameen of being an ISIS commander who committed a 2014 murder in Iraq.  Mr. Ameen proved his innocence, and a Federal Judge threw out the extradition case on April 21, 2021.  Mr. Ameen now sues the DOJ, FBI, and State Departments under FOIA for the records underlying his baseless prosecution.

In 2018, the Trump administration instigated and coordinated an Iraqi extradition request for Omar Ameen, falsely accusing him of being an ISIS commander and murderer. The Trump administration then leveraged these false charges to serve its narrative of Muslim refugees coming into the United States as a “Trojan horse”: former Secretary Pompeo cited Omar’s arrest to justify cutting the 2019 FY refugee resettlement quota to an unprecedented low.

Any close examination of the accusations would have revealed internal inconsistencies and irregularities consistent with fraud. Meanwhile, the Government ignored and even suppressed overwhelming evidence of Ameen’s innocence. After almost three years of Omar’s solitary confinement in federal detention, the Judge in Omar’s case found that Omar’s defense met the nearly impossible legal standard of “obliterating probable cause.” As Judge Brennan wrote of the prosecution’s case: “this series of events is simply not plausible.”

Omar Ameen should have been freed that same afternoon and reunited with his family. Instead, under the Biden administration, he was transferred straight to ICE for deportation proceedings in Bakersfield, CA. He continues to be detained, fighting the same bogus claims of terrorism from the same deceitful witnesses.  If Omar is sent back to Iraq, he will face the same fate as if he had been extradited: a sham trial and near certain death penalty.

Mr. Ameen is an innocent man who has been grievously wronged by the U.S. Government.  He seeks to understand the process the resulted in his unjust prosecution for a crime he did not commit.  Further, it is essential that the American public understand this enormous waste of taxpayer resources in prosecuting, and continuing to detain, an innocent man.  FOIA exists to expose governmental misconduct and waste.  It is a critical tool to keep the Government transparent and accountable to the people.  Omar’s case begs for a full public airing of how the Government came to fight so hard to sustain a fallacy.

VICE TV is releasing an episode about Mr. Ameen at 9 am EST May 23rd, “The Case Against Omar Ameen,” which will also be released on their YouTube channel three days later.

Ameen is represented by Matt Topic and the Freedom of Information Act team at Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law, which has litigated hundreds of Freedom of Information Act cases, including release of video of the Chicago police murder of Laquan McDonald and previously withheld portions of the Mueller Report.

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