Originally posted at 12:39 a.m. April 25, 2014.
Four Iranian brothers who live in the San Fernando Valley are asking two international tribunals to rule they were unlawfully held on alleged immigration violations for more than 40 months shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, it was reported this week.
The Mirmehdi brothers were detained on allegations that they were affiliated with a terrorist organization, though the men argued they had just attended a rally in Denver opposing the Iranian government and they have no terrorist involvement, the Los Angeles Daily News reported.
They have already filed claims asking for compensation and an apology but were turned down by U.S. courts who said federal officials are immune from prosecution. But now, with help from UCLA law students, they are asking the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Washington D.C.-based Inter- American Commission for Human Rights to take up their case, according to the newspaper.
The two bodies do not have the legal authority to force the U.S. government to compensate the brothers, but the Mirmehdis and their backers feel the groups could give them a form of justice by authenticating their claims.
"We do want some sort of monetary damages and compensation as well (but) the most important thing is that the court says that the U.S. government was wrong about us," Mostafa "Michael" Mirmehdi, 55, of Lake Balboa, told the Daily News. The other three brothers are Mohammad, 43, of Tarzana, Mojtaba, 51, of Encino, and Mohsen, 47, of Tarzana.
The brothers say they were "arbitrarily detained" in October 2001 and mistreated while held on the basis of a false allegation that they were members of a terrorist organization for which no criminal charges were ever filed. They were released from detention in March 2005.
The Mirmehdis were alleged to be supporters of the Mujahedine-e Khalq (MEK), a terrorist group that has opposed the mullahs running Iran but is not known to have acted against the United States.
The Mirmehdis have maintained they are not members of the MEK or any other terrorist organization, the Daily News reported. The MEK was removed from the U.S. State Department list of terrorist organizations in 2012
--City News Service