Brandon Mayfield, a 37-year-old American convert to Islam, was released from custody last week. But he was not altogether cleared of suspicion at the time; the government said he remained a "material witness" and put restrictions on his movements.
Those restrictions were lifted Monday morning.
At an afternoon press conference, Mayfield said he thought he'd been targeted because of his Muslim faith.
"I am a Muslim, an American, an attorney and an ex-officer of the U.S. military," he said. "I believe I was singled out and discriminated against, I feel as a Muslim."
He called his time in prison "humiliating" and "embarrassing" and said that he was concerned about "other material witnesses languishing away in detention centers."
Lawyers for Mayfield said they were calling for an investigation into leaks to the media in the case, as well as a probe into FBI actions, and how the fingerprint could have been misidentified.
The former Army lieutenant was arrested May 6, after FBI agents raided his suburban home in Aloha, Ore.
U.S. District Judge Robert Jones said the proceedings were to be dismissed, "due to the misidentification by the FBI of a fingerprint," and that all property that had been seized from the Mayfield residence should be returned.
Furthermore, the court said that any copies of Mayfield's property held by the federal government were to be destroyed, and that all documents in the case would be unsealed.
FBI officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, had said that his fingerprint matched one found on a bag of detonators near the train station in Madrid in the March 11 bombing, which killed 191 people and injured 2,000 others. But last week, Spanish authorities said the fingerprints of an Algerian man were on the bag.
The bombings have been blamed on Islamic militants, with possible links to al-Qaida.
The sudden arrest, followed by the abrupt end to the case, raised serious questions about the FBI methods that linked a suburban lawyer to the terrorist attack that has been called Spain's September 11th.
"We need to know more about how this happened. All of us in this country need to know more about how this type of mistake can be made," said Steven Wax, the public defender who represented Mayfield. "The climate of fear of terror makes this a cautionary tale about the way in which that fear can ensnare an innocent person in the type of abuse to which Mr. Mayfield was subjected."
Wax said concerns surfaced that the fingerprint found on the bag of detonators had been "overlaid" with another print, obscuring details and making a match difficult.
He said an FBI computer likely returned a number of possible matches, and that his client could have been singled out for investigation and subsequent arrest because he is Muslim. "It's a major civil rights issue," he said.
Wax said Mayfield believes he was not only arrested, but also subjected to so-called "sneak and peak" searches where agents enter a home with no obligation to immediately tell the owner. They are allowed under the USA Patriot Act. Mayfield may sue the government, Wax said.
After Spanish authorities cast doubt on the match, the FBI re-examined the print and decided it was not Mayfield's, Wax said.
Wax said the mistake may have come from an error in reproducing the fingerprint.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Gorder left a message on his machine stating that he would not be responding to media phone calls.
Other calls to the U.S. Attorney's office were not immediately returned.
Reached by phone minutes after the announcement, Brandon Mayfield's mother said the family wants an apology from the U.S. government.
"That's what we've been saying all along. It's not his fingerprint," said AvNell Mayfield of Hutchinson, Kan. "He was falsely accused, and they still weren't letting him go."
"If it happened to you, wouldn't you expect an apology?" she said.
The family erupted in joy after the announcement, she said. Mayfield's son, Shane, and brother, Kent Mayfield, gave each other high-fives in the living room of the Mayfield's home.
"They're dancing and clicking their heels," Avnell Mayfield said.
Mayfield, a former Army lieutenant who now runs a small Portland law office, was never facing any formal charges. He was arrested as a material witness, and held on the chance that he might have information about the Spain bombings.
But soon after his arrest, investigators in Spain told The Associated Press that they had doubts that the fingerprints found on the bag of detonators were Mayfield's.
Late last Thursday, authorities in Madrid confirmed that the fingerprints on the plastic bag belonged to an Algerian man named Ouhnane Daoud.