- Board member of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Oakland County (Michigan) chapter
- Has represented mostly Detroit-area Arab and Muslim Americans who filed post-9/11 discrimination cases
- Works closely with the Center for Constitutional Rights
Born in Walnut, California in April 1965, Shereef Akeel is an attorney of Egyptian descent. He is currently a partner in the law firm of Melamed, Dailey, and Akeel. He also serves on the board of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Oakland County (Michigan) chapter.
In his career as an attorney, Akeel has represented mostly Detroit-area Arab and Muslim Americans who filed post-9/11 discrimination cases. In 2004, however, he gained national recognition when he initiated a class action lawsuit on behalf of prisoners involved in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.
The case began in March of that year, when Akeel was visited in his Detroit office by someone he has identified only as “Mr. Saleh,” who was seeking legal representation. “Mr. Saleh” informed Akeel of the allegedly abusive treatment to which he had been subjected by his U.S. captors at the Abu Ghraib prison complex in Iraq. The following month, reports of abuse at Abu Ghraib appeared in the mainstream press, igniting a media firestorm and giving Akeel the leverage he needed to pursue a legal case. On June 9, 2004, Akeel and a team of lawyers filed a class action suit in a San Diego federal court, seeking compensation for the Iraqi prisoners.
Since that time, Akeel, working closely with the Center for Constitutional Rights, has been involved in lawsuits against two civilian contractors — the San Diego-based Titan Corporation and the Arlington-based CACI International Inc. — which provided translation and interrogation services in Abu Ghraib. Akeel contends that because the translators communicated abusive orders from the U.S. soldiers to the prisoners, the translators themselves were complicit in whatever wrongdoing may have occurred. “My client does not speak English,” said Akeel. “Who told him what to do? Without the facilitators [translators], the information could not be communicated to the detainees.”
On September 11, 2007, Akeel spoke at an MSU event titled “Hope Not Hate: The Future of U.S.-Muslim World Relations.” Co-sponsored by the University’s Muslim Students Association and Americans for Informed Democracy, this event aimed to develop “a comprehensive strategy towards more positive relations between the United States and the Muslim World, instead of relations based on fear and misunderstanding.” Other guest speakers included Rosina Hassoun and Mohammed Ayoob.