Long story short: Man is staying in hotel in NYC during the 9/11/2001 attacks. Hotel empties after attacks and device is found in man's hotel room closet that allows communication with airline pilots. Man is Egyptian national, and FBI questions him. Man denies owning device.
FBI agent threatens that man's family will be tortured in Egypt.
Man confesses, ultimately spending a month in jail before airline pilot shows up at hotel asking for radio left in man's room back. Whoops! Lawsuits ensue.
From Steve Bergstein's Psychosounds blog, where I found this:
"Higazy then realized he had a choice: he could continue denying the radio was his and his family suffers ungodly torture in Egypt or he confesses and his family is spared. Of course, by confessing, Higazy's life is worth garbage at that point, but … well, that's why coerced confessions are outlawed in the United States."
Good thing the FBI doesn't do this any more. Right?
We never would have known any of this as the US Court of Appeals in Manhattan redacted the description of the torture threats in its decision, but someone posted an unredacted decision on the web for a brief time. And a PDF of that is what's making the rounds now.
Here's the link to a story on the situation from the ABA Journal.
In it, the court claims it redacted the information about the torture threats to protect Higazy and his family. The story doesn't say what they're being protected from.