Lawsuit filed over 'near-terrorist' name

June 29, 2005 at 11:36 AM

CHICAGO, June 29 (UPI) -- A Chicago-area man whose name in Arabic is as common as "John Smith" is suing the United States for detaining him at the border five times while returning home.

Akif Rahman, 32, made the name analogy at a Chicago news conference, and said the last time he was questioned as a terrorist was in May in Detroit, where he was held for six hours, treated roughly and separated from his family.

He's not satisfied with the response he got to a complaint he filed with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement department, which said his name is a "near match" to another person in the National Crime Information Center list maintained by the FBI.

So, the American Civil Liberties Union has taken up his case with a lawsuit, the Chicago Tribune said.

Rahman has also been detained at airports in Los Angeles, Chicago and Montreal.

The lawsuit asks the federal court to order the Homeland Security Department to adopt policies that ensure expeditious re-entry to the United States for U.S. citizens whose names are similar to those on watch lists.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said agency officials have no comment on pending litigation.

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