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Federal officials had heard stories about Scott Vitkovic. People at his Cambridge mosque said he wanted to attack the United States. And he had worn an Osama bin Laden t-shirt, outraging one mosque member who called it “completely irrational behavior.”
That was enough to get Vitkovic locked up in the secretive immigration system for the past seven years without ever being charged with a crime.
Vitkovic denied in court records that he was a threat to anyone but himself, saying he had once attempted suicide, but federal officials say he is a threat to public safety.
“Nobody should be facing any of this kind of persecution,” Vitkovic, an immigrant from the former Czechoslovakia being held at the Suffolk County House of Correction in Boston.
Though the Supreme Court has barred the indefinite jailing of immigrants, US officials continue to jail hundreds for months or even years while they await deportation, often on what critics say are shaky legal grounds.