An Egyptian-born radiologist who was suspected of having terrorist ties after Sept. 11, 2001 and later cleared was awarded $2.45 million yesterday by a federal jury in Pittsburgh that decided his right to privacy was violated, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says. Basem Moustafa Hussein, 40, won the award from his former landlord. The jury said his building manager at an apartment complex was liable along with her company for violating his privacy when she walked into his unit on Sept. 11 and saw, among other items, a compact disc jacket that showed a jetliner flying through two buildings next to a fireball. Wilson called state police, leading to a federal investigation that ended a few days later when the FBI concluded Hussein had nothing to do with terrorism.
The disc jacket turned out to be part of a flight simulator computer game, as was a flight manual Wilson saw next to it. Hussein said he had endured repeated questioning from agents, lost his job in New Mexico, was evicted from his apartment and had his name mentioned as a potential terrorist in news reports. He said Egyptian police ransacked his parent’s apartment in Egypt at the request of U.S. authorities and caused $200,000 in damage. The jury ruled against Hussein on three of his four civil rights claims, saying the defendants did not trespass and did not discriminate against him because of his race. Hussein had said Wilson targeted him because he’s Arabic. He won $850,000 in compensatory damages and another $1.6 million in punitive damages for “malice or reckless indifference” to his rights.