NEW YORK (CN) – An Egyptian student who was falsely linked to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks may sue an FBI agent over his 34-day detention, the Second Circuit ruled. It denied qualified immunity to Michael Templeton, who arrested Abdallah Higazy, the son of an Egyptian diplomat, for allegedly lying about an aviation radio said to be found in Higazy’s hotel room after the attacks.
An employee at the Millenium Hilton Hotel near the Twin Tower site falsely claimed that the radio was found in a safe, on top of a Quran and passport, in the room where Higazy had been staying on Sept. 11. The FBI said Higazy kept changing his story about the radio and charged him with lying to investigators. But Higazy claimed Templeton coerced a confession by screaming, lying and threatening him during interrogation. The FBI released the student when another hotel guest, a private pilot, came back to claim his radio. The circuit held that an agent is not allowed to coerce a confession and use it against a defendant in criminal proceedings. It upheld dismissal of Higazy’s claims based on the use of his confession at an earlier bail hearing, when criminal charges had not been filed. See ruling in Higazy v. Templeton.