Associated Press writer Devlin Barrett reports in an article titled, “Wrongly Jailed Student Sues Agent, Hotel Over 9/11 Aviation Radio Probe.” Excerpt:
NEW YORK — An Egyptian student wrongly jailed for a month as a suspect in the Sept. 11 attacks filed a $20 million lawsuit Thursday against the FBI agent who extracted his false confession.
Abdallah Higazy, 31, also sued the Hilton hotel chain and a former security guard for telling authorities an aviation radio was found inside Higazy’s hotel room overlooking the World Trade Center soon after the terrorist attacks.
After he was taken into custody in December 2001, Higazy denied the radio was his, then “confessed” during a polygraph exam after Higazy said the agent threatened and intimidated him.
He was charged with lying to investigators but cleared days later when the radio’s true owner, a pilot, returned to the hotel to retrieve the device.
“I want a public apology, a written apology,” Higazy said Thursday.
Former hotel security guard Ronald Ferry pleaded guilty to lying to investigators when he told them he found the radio, which is used to communicate with commercial airline pilots, in a safe inside Higazy’s room.
Higazy’s lawyer, Robert Dunn, said they were considering filing additional claims against the federal government for its handling of the case.
The suit claims Michael Templeton, the agent who administered the lie-detector test, coerced the false confession from Higazy by threatening to make his family’s life in Egypt “a living hell.”