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XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX SAT NOV 24 2001 15:21:38 ET XXXXX
ASHCROFT DETAINS JEWS
Controversy surrounds Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Justice Department's detention of at least 60 Israeli Jews in the United States as part of America's September 11 terror probe.
Some of the Jews have been jailed for up to 60 days on the pretext of minor offenses involving working papers and other violations.
None of the detainments have produced a single public charge in connection with Sept. 11.
Federal officials have presented no evidence that the Jews, most of whom worked selling toys and trinkets at kiosks in shopping malls, had anything to do with terrorism, reported the WASHINGTON POST on Friday.
In one of the few cases to reach a hearing, a federal administrative law judge in Cleveland rejected any suggestion that the 11 Jews before her had any ties to terrorists.
Five young Israelis recently released from two months in US jails described oppressive conditions and rough treatment, saying they "were treated like terrorists" even after it quickly became clear they were not involved in the World Trade Center attack.
The Israelis claimed last night they were deliberately kept with Arab and Moslem prisoners, who beat them badly, and that they were deprived of food and basic sleeping and toilet conditions.
Their imprisonment was extremely traumatic and has left physical and emotional scars, the JERUSALEM POST reported in Sunday editions.
The five Jews, who worked for a New Jersey moving company, said that they were arrested in a security sweep, after neighbors reported them to the authorities when they heard them speaking Hebrew and thought it was Arabic and that they were somehow tied to the terror attack.
It was reported they were picked up after they photographed themselves smiling against the backdrop of the burning Trade buildings.
The five have retained a lawyer in the United States to file a lawsuit for the treatment they received in jail.
Filed By Matt Drudge
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