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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What to Do If the FBI Contacts You

Council on American Islamic Relations- NY
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 246
New York, N.Y. 10115
Tele 212.870.2002  Fax 212.870.2020

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: What to Do If the FBI Contacts You

American Muslims strongly support law enforcement and the protection of our national security. If you know of any criminal activity taking place in your community, it is both your religious and civic duty to immediately report such activity to local and federal law enforcement agencies. As Americans, we also value the civil rights of every individual. Considering recent events in Queens, NY, we suggest to the Muslim community the following steps if visited by FBI at their home or workplace:

You should have a lawyer present when speaking with federal law enforcement agencies. Under the law, you have the legal right to have a lawyer present when speaking with federal law enforcement agencies. This is true even if you are not a citizen or have been arrested or detained. This is your legal right. Refusing to answer questions cannot be held against you and does not imply that you have something to hide. Answering a question the wrong way can hurt you more than not answering at all. An attorney is best able to protect your rights.

You do not have to permit them to enter your home or office. Under U.S. law, law enforcement agents must possess a search warrant in order to enter your house. If they say they have a warrant, politely ask to see it before allowing them to enter. If they have a warrant, be courteous and polite, but remember that you are under no obligation to answer questions without a lawyer present. You may also state for the record that you do not consent to the search so that they cannot go beyond what the warrant authorizes.

You should never lie or provide false information to the FBI. Lying or providing false information to an FBI agent is a federal crime. You may simply excuse yourself from the conversation and take down their contact info.

Remember to get the name, agency, and telephone number of any investigator who visits you so that you may give it to your lawyer.

If you are contacted by the FBI, immediately call 212.870.2002.

Please note: This above is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Should you have any questions about the material herein or about a specific case, please consult with your attorney.


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