Rights Groups Issue Open Letter on Upcoming NYC Trial of Syed Fahad Hashmi and Severe Special Admini

The Center for Constitutional Rights, The Council of American Islamic Relations-New York, and Amnesty International released an open letter expressing concern over Fahad Hashmi’s upcoming trial. The letter urges the Attorney General, Eric Holder to both review and revise Department of Justice regulations which govern the implementation of Special Administrative Measures. SAMs can be imposed on inmates past 120 days when the Department of Justice deems it reasonably necessary “because there is a substantial risk that an inmates communication or contacts with persons could result in death or serious bodily injury to persons or substantial property would entail the risk of death or serious bodily injury to persons.” The open letter expresses concern over whether Fahad has even been informed of the reasons for the imposition of the SAMSs.

View the open letter at: http://ccrjustice.org/newsroom/press-releases/rights-groups-issue-open-letter-upcoming-nyc-trial-syed-fahad-hashmi-and-sev

Rights Groups Issue Open Letter on Upcoming NYC Trial of Syed Fahad Hashmi and Severe Special Administrative Measures

Contact: press@ccrjustice.org

April 23, 2010, New York – The Center for Constitutional Rights, Amnesty International USA, and the Council on American Islamic Relations-NY released an open letter today expressing their serious concerns about the trial of Syed Fahad Hashmi, set to begin on April 28. The human rights organizations discuss Mr. Hashmi’s severe conditions of confinement over the last three years in which he has awaited trial, their impact on his mental health, and his ability to effectively participate in his own defense.

The material support charges against Mr. Hashmi are based on the allegation that he allowed an acquaintance, Junaid Babar, to use his cell phone and to stay with him at his apartment in London where he was pursuing a Master’s degree. According to Mr. Hashmi’s indictment, Babar had waterproof socks and rain ponchos in his luggage that he later delivered to al-Qaeda in South Waziristan. Mr. Hashmi denies all charges against him.

In their letter, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Amnesty International USA, and the Council on American Islamic Relations-NY urge the Attorney General to review and revise the Department of Justice regulations governing the imposition of severe Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) to ensure that all prisoners are held in humane conditions, are not subjected to discriminatory treatment, are given adequate information about why SAMs are being imposed, and are given a full opportunity to argue and present evidence against their imposition.

Two days ago, CCR publicly condemned the government’s attempt to frighten the jury in Mr. Hashmi’s case, calling the U.S. Attorney’s motion for the jurors to be anonymous and kept under extra security because of the attention and political activism these issues have drawn to the case “a clear attempt to influence the jury by creating a sense of fear for their safety and to paint Mr. Hashmi as already guilty.”

Open Letter from Amnesty International USA, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the Council on American Islamic Relations-NY on the upcoming trial of Syed Fahad Hashmi and the severe Special Administrative Measures to which he is subjected :

On April 28, Syed Fahad Hashmi is scheduled to be tried in the Southern District of New York on charges of material support for terrorism. Mr. Hashmi has been held in pretrial detention at the Special Housing Unit at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, pursuant to Special Administrative Measures, or SAMs, for almost three years now. These measures have severely limited his ability to communicate with the outside world and effectively placed him in solitary confinement, although he has not been convicted of any crime.

Mr. Hashmi is 30 years old, was raised in Queens and attended Brooklyn College before moving to London to obtain a Master’s degree in political science. Since his extradition to the United States in May 2007, he has been imprisoned alone in a cell and not permitted to speak, worship or otherwise communicate with any other prisoners. He is not permitted any visitors or outside communications, except for his attorneys and limited visits from immediate family. He is not allowed any physical human contact, even from his closest family members. Mr. Hashmi is allowed one hour per day of physical exercise, which must be taken alone, in a small cage inside the prison. He is not permitted access to any natural air or sunlight. Moreover, Mr. Hashmi is subjected to a strip-search before his one hour per day of exercise. Due to the resulting humiliation he experiences, he has chosen to forego this hour outside of his cell altogether.

In addition, Mr. Hashmi is subjected to constant surveillance, not only when he is alone in his cell but also when he showers, uses the toilet, or meets with an attorney or family member. He may not communicate with any members of the media, and he is forbidden from listening to a television or radio news program or reading a timely newspaper.

Mr. Hashmi’s family, friends and attorneys are extremely concerned that his mental health is rapidly deteriorating under these extreme conditions. It is well-documented that solitary confinement can have severely detrimental effects on a prisoner’s mental health. It may also affect his ability to effectively participate in his trial and to present his defense.

Muslim community groups are increasingly expressing concern about these prison conditions, as they seem to be imposed disproportionately on Muslims suspected of connections with terrorism.

SAMs may be imposed on a particular inmate, according to the Department of Justice’s regulations, when such measures are “reasonably necessary to prevent disclosure of classified information,” or when “reasonably necessary to protect persons against the risk of death or serious bodily injury.” To be extended beyond the initial 120-day period, the Attorney General or federal law enforcement must demonstrate that such measures are reasonably necessary “because there is a substantial risk that an inmate’s communications or contacts with persons could result in death or serious bodily injury to persons, or substantial damage to property that would entail the risk of death or serious bodily injury to persons.”

The material support charges against Mr. Hashmi are based on the allegation that he allowed an acquaintance, Junaid Babar, to use his cell phone and to stay with him at his apartment in London where he was pursuing a Master’s degree. According to Mr. Hashmi’s indictment, Babar had waterproof socks and rain ponchos in his luggage that he later delivered to al-Qaeda in South Waziristan. Mr. Hashmi denies all charges against him. These charges will be the subject of his trial.

We are concerned that Mr. Hashmi has not been informed of the reasons for the imposition of SAMs. We are also concerned that Mr. Hashmi is being held under conditions that are not consistent with international standards for humane treatment. Due to their likely impact on his mental health, we are further concerned that these conditions will prejudice his ability to assist in his own defense.

The Department of Justice stated last year that 46 inmates around the country were being confined pursuant to SAMs. Although we recognize that the department has a legitimate interest in protecting classified information that may harm national security and in protecting the public against acts of terrorism, we are very concerned that inmates held pursuant to such measures are not being given an adequate opportunity to defend against the imposition of SAMs in their cases.

We urge the Attorney General to review and revise the agency’s regulations governing the imposition of SAMs to ensure that all prisoners regardless of their security status are held in humane conditions, are not subjected to discriminatory treatment, are given adequate information about why SAMs are being imposed, and are given a full opportunity to argue and present evidence against their imposition.

Amnesty International USA
Center for Constitutional Rights
Council on American Islamic Relations – New York

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

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Vigil in New York for Fahad Hashmi and Dr. Aafia Siddiqui on January 18 2010

Vigil in New York for Fahad Hashmi and Dr. Aafia Siddiqui on January 18 2010

Fahad and Ziyad Two More Victims Of This War Against Peace And Humanity

It’s a shame for USA system of justice and so called national security institutions that they have become either paranoid over security issues or they are doing it deliberately to insult so called lesser beings all over the world in the name of this war against humanity and peace.

Fahad Hashmi and Ziyad Yaghi cases are two more examples of such cases.

Still they are waiting for justice and we hope they will get it soon.

There is a deliberate attempt from players of weapon-blood-dollar game to create distances and differences between civilizations so that their corporate and imperialists goals are achieved.

It’s now or never for civil societies of these countries where these criminal decision makers reside to raise their voice against unjust actions.

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Ziyad Yaghi Jailed for going on Vacation

Source: http://freeziyadyaghi.blogspot.com/2009/12/ziyad-yaghi-jailed-for-going-on_8729.html

Posted by Mujahid e Musafir

Source: Helptheprisoners.org                                                                    17th November 2009
Background
Ziyad Yaghi is a 21 year old American citizen, from Jordan originally, residing in North Carolina whom has lived in the United States since the age of two. He has been accused of attempting to commit terrorism abroad by the United States government, in an indictment which appears to be based on an incorrect premise, namely that the US seek to infer that trips abroad were part of a terrorist conspiracy.
Ziyad visited Jordan in 2006, the country of his birth. Unfortunately the US Indictment appears to have misinterpreted this intention, and states instead that he was seeking armed conflict.
In 2007, the indictment alleges that he with others tried to engage in armed conflict in Israel, whereas both Ziyad and his friend Omar instead sought to visit the west bank and Masjid al-aqsa, one of Islam’s most
famous and revered sites and one which holds particular appeal for Ziyad as he is from Palestinian heritage.
The United States again seek to set a dangerous precedent in that if a Muslim wishes to visit the land of his ancestry, then this is viewed as suspect.
Now Ziyad is being held in an American jail, on the basis of two holidays that he undertook a few years ago.
The United States seem to draw conclusions and conspiracies when it is clear that this was just a young Muslim man who travelled as millions of young people do, seeking different cultures and experiences. It is discriminatory to assume that if a Muslim man engages in a trip to the Middle East that it is seditious conspiracy, yet if a non Muslim man were to do the same then it is soul-searching and adventure.
We also remind the United States of its obligations under the constitution, which state:-
“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the
United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;
nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
(14th Amendment of the US Constitution, Section One)
We would also remind the United States of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article two,
which states :-
“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind,
such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth
or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or
international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust,
non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.”
We finally ask that the United States government cease the incarceration of this young man, and free him so
that he may resume his life and be re-united with his family.
Key Contacts
George Holding, District Attorney
U.S. Attorney’s Office
310 New Bern Avenue, Federal Building,
Suite 800,
Raleigh, North Carolina
27601-1461
(919) 856-4530
Richard Burr, Senator
Wilmington
201 North Front Street
Suite 809
Wilmington, NC 28401
Phone: (888) 848-1833
Phone: (910) 251-1058
Fax: (910) 251-7975
Sample Letter
Dear [insert recipient’s name here],
I am writing to you concerning Ziyad Yaghi, a 21 year old American citizen who is originally from Jordan.
He is accused of engaging in a terrorist conspiracy, an accusation that is easily refutable if one examines the
facts of the case.
Ziyad visited Jordan in 2006, the country of his birth, for entirely innocent reasons. Unfortunately the US
Indictment appears to have misinterpreted this intention, and states instead that he was seeking armed conflict.
In 2007, the indictment alleges that he with others tried to engage in armed conflict in Israel, whereas both
Ziyad and his friend Omar instead sought to visit the west bank and Masjid al-aqsa, one of Islam’s most
famous and revered sites and one which holds particular appeal for Ziyad as he is from Palestinian heritage.
The United States again seek to set a dangerous precedent in that if a Muslim wishes to visit the land of his
ancestry, then this is viewed as suspect.
Under the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, Section One, it clearly states:-
“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the
United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;
nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
I would ask that you cease the incarceration of this young man, and free him so that he may resume his life and
be re-united with his family.
I look forward to hearing from you in due course.
Regards,

[insert name here]

Sign Ziyad’s petition: http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?GVFJAHR&1
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Fahad Hashmi Case

Here are some details for Fahad Hashmi and his case on his supporters website.

Source : http://freefahad.com

Who is Fahad?

Syed Hashmi, known to his family and friends as Fahad, was born in Karachi, Pakistan in 1980, the second child of Syed Anwar Hashmi and Arifa Hashmi. Fahad immigrated with his family to America when he was three years old. His father said “We knew there would be many opportunities for us here in the United States. We came here to find the American dream.” The large Hashmi family settled in Flushing, New York and soon developed deep roots throughout the tri-state area. Fahad graduated from Robert F. Wagner High School in 1998 and attended SUNY Stony Brook University. He transferred to Brooklyn College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2003. A devout Muslim, through the years Fahad established a reputation as an activist and advocate. In 2003, Fahad enrolled in London Metropolitan University in England to pursue a master’s degree in international relations, which he received in 2006. On June 6, 2006, Fahad was arrested in London Heathrow airport by British police based on an American indictment charging him with material support of Al Qaida. He was subsequently held in Belmarsh Prison, Britain’s most notorious jail.

The Case

The Charges
The US government accused Fahad of providing material support to Al Qaeda, but a close look at the evidence shows that the charges make little sense. Fahad is NOT charged with providing any money or resources to any terrorists or being a member of al Qaeda. Instead, the US government charged Fahad with allowing an old acquaintance — Junaid Babar — to stay in Fahad’s London apartment for about two weeks in 2004. During that two week period, Babar allegedly kept several raincoats, ponchos, and waterproof socks in luggage that Babar temporarily stored in Fahad’s apartment. The US government then alleges that at some point Babar gave the socks and ponchos to a high ranking member of al Qaeda. There is no allegation that Fahad is a member of al Qaeda or that he ever personally gave or helped to give anything to any member of al Qaeda.

Conditions of Fahad’s Imprisonment
Fahad was held in England’s Belmarsh prison mixed with the general prison population for 11 months without incident. Since his extradition to the United States more than a year ago, Fahad has been kept in solitary confinement and subject to unduly restrictive Special Administrative Measures (SAMs), These draconian measures mandate that he be kept under 23-hour lockdown, be allowed only one visit from an immediate family member a week, and have no other contact with anyone besides his lawyer and prison officials. The SAMs also limit the material that Fahad can read and make it illegal for his family members to pass any messages from him onto friends.
Fahad is not charged with any acts of violence, nor were there any accusations that he attempted to contact any terrorists during his time with the general prison population at Belmarsh, rendering the restrictions he is subject to unnecessarily cruel in a society that treats people as innocent until proven guilty. SAMs are meant to prevent crimes orchestrated from within prison walls, but even if EVERYTHING the government alleges is true, there is no evidence that Fahad would be a danger if he were kept with the general prison population.

The Evidence Against Fahad
Substantial evidence in the case will come from the testimony of Junaid Babar, the man who stayed at Fahad’s London apartment as a houseguest. There is evidence to show that Babar’s testimony may be unreliable. He has taken a plea bargain – he will receive a reduced sentence if he agrees to testify against people like Fahad. It is a common practice for the government to offer a deal to one defendant who’s accused of a lesser crime in order to convict a more serious criminal – in this case his testimony will be used try to convict somebody who gave him a place to sleep for two weeks.

Civil Liberties Concerns
Many in the civil liberties community are gravely concerned by the implications of Fahad’s case. Fahad is facing trumped-up charges as a result of his opinions. It is a dangerous precedent to make people responsible for the actions of their houseguests.
Concern also surrounds the conditions of Fahad’s detention. Even were all the charges against him true, the SAMS measures would be unwarranted. The government should exercise extreme caution when deciding when to invoke such severe restrictions. He is in solitary confinement and subject to a regime of severe deprivation. Under the SAM imposed by the Attorney General, Hashmi must be held in solitary confinement and may not communicate with anyone inside the prison other than prison officials. Family visits were not granted for many months and are now limited to one person every other week for one and a half hours, and cannot involve physical contact. Mr. Hashmi may write only one letter (of no more than three pieces of paper) per week to one family member. He may not communicate, either directly or through his attorneys, with the news media. He may read only designated portions of newspapers – and not until thirty days after their publication – and his access to other reading material is restricted. He may not listen to or watch news-oriented radio stations and television channels. He may not participate in group prayer. He is subject to 24-hour electronic monitoring and 23-hour lockdown, has no access to fresh air, and must take his one-hour of daily recreation – when it is given – inside a cage.

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