FBI faces inquiry on a false confession from an egyptian student
by Benjamin Weiser, NY Times - August 07, 2002
A federal judge in Manhattan took the unusual step yesterday of ordering federal prosecutors to investigate how the F.B.I. had obtained a confession from an innocent Egyptian student who was detained in connection with the attack on the World Trade Center.
The judge, Jed S. Rakoff of Federal District Court, also agreed to unseal virtually all documents that have been kept secret in the case of the student, Abdallah Higazy. He was initially held as a material witness in the Sept. 11 investigation after a security guard said he had found an aviation radio in the safe in Mr. Higazy's hotel room, which overlooked the trade center site.
Mr. Higazy was later charged with perjury when he denied owning the radio, and spent about a month in jail. He was released after the guard admitted making up the story about the radio.
But while Mr. Higazy was in jail, prosecutors told Judge Rakoff that the student had confessed to an F.B.I. agent that he owned the radio, an admission now known to be untrue.