Monday, March 1, 2010
Fahad Hashmi: READ and ACT (new article/petition)
Syed Fahad Hamshi
Strikingly current case and article - a prime example of other similar cases and unjustifiable treatment going on in these United States as well as in secret sites all over the world.
Please take a look at this article just in on Fahad Hashmi's case written by Associate Professor and prolific writer: Jeanne Theoharis. Please read and forward to your contacts.
Fahad's Trial is scheduled to begin Wednesday April 28th, 2010.
He was born in Karachi, Pakistan and moved with family to the US when very young. Pakistanis and Americans are encouraged to all participate in spreading the word and signing/writing petitions/letters/articles seeking humane treatment and a fair trial.
Do for others what you would like...
U.S. citizen’s solitary confinement raises serious questions
By Jeanne Theoharis, March 1, 2010
A U.S. citizen has spent his last three birthdays in solitary confinement awaiting trial.
Not in Iran.
Not in North Korea.
But in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan.
His name is Fahad Hashmi. He turned 30 last week.
But there was no celebration with family and friends, though they are but a few miles away. He grew up in Queens, N.Y., where his family still lives, and he received his bachelor's from Brooklyn College.
Hashmi is awaiting trial on four charges of material support to al-Qaida.
Under special administrative measures imposed by the U.S. attorney general, Hashmi is not allowed contact with anyone — outside his lawyers and highly restricted visits every two weeks with his parents (which in December were suspended without explanation).
His cell is electronically monitored inside and out, 24 hours a day. He is allowed only one hour out of his cell a day and is forced to exercise in a solitary cage. Because much of the evidence in the case is classified, he has not been allowed to review it.
The “centerpiece” of the U.S. government’s material support charges against him, it claims, is the testimony of a cooperating witness, Junaid Babar.
Babar, an acquaintance of Hashmi’s who came to London in 2004 when Hashmi was doing his graduate study there, asked to stay with him for two weeks. The government claims that Babar had luggage containing raincoats, ponchos and waterproof socks in Hashmi’s apartment, and that later Babar delivered these materials to the third-ranking member of al-Qaida in South Waziristan, Pakistan. In addition, Hashmi allowed Babar to use his cell phone, who then allegedly called other conspirators in terrorist plots. Babar was subsequently arrested and has agreed to testify in a number of cases in exchange for a much-reduced sentence.
On Tuesday, Feb. 23, the U.S. Supreme Court took up the issue of these material support laws, hearing arguments in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project. Brought by the Humanitarian Law Project and the Center for Constitutional Rights, the case challenges certain aspects of the material support provisions introduced under President Clinton’s Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act and expanded under the Patriot Act. The law defines and bans material support as the knowing provision of “any service, training, [or] expert advice or assistance” to a group designated by the federal government as a foreign terrorist organization. The challengers argue that aspects of the ban — and its definition of material support — are overly vague and violate the First and Fifth Amendments by inhibiting a range of protected activities.
Material support laws are the black box of domestic terrorism prosecutions, a shape-shifting space into which all sorts of constitutionally protected activities can be thrown and classified as suspect, if not criminal. Their vagueness is key. They criminalize guilt by association and often use political and religious beliefs to demonstrate intent and state of mind.
Hashmi, for instance, had drawn the attention of authorities years earlier as an outspoken activist in the Muslim community and member of the New York political group al-Muhajiroun while he was a student at Brooklyn College. He faces charges of material support without being accused of being a member of al-Qaida, of trying to help al-Qaida commit any act of terrorism or any crime, or of even having any direct contact with al-Qaida.
This is the new McCarthyism, under the guise of “material support” for terrorism but bearing a stark resemblance in practice to the criminalization of belief and association a half century ago.
And so Fahad Hashmi sits in isolation, still awaiting trial, in a legal black hole in New York City. Let us hope the current Supreme Court heeds former Chief Justice’s Earl Warren’s caution: “It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of … those liberties … which makes the defense of this nation worthwhile.”
Jeanne Theoharis is professor of political science and endowed chair in women’s studies at Brooklyn College of CUNY. She is the author of numerous books on civil rights and is the co-founder of Educators for Civil Liberties. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article above sent by Muslims for Justice - sign up for free email alerts here
See an article Theoharis wrote for The Nation here
Also for more on Fahad Hashmi's case, photos, documentary and links, go to February on right column and scroll to Monday February 22nd and Tuesday February 23rd and/or try these URLs (which is sometimes active in some search engines, sometimes not):
Its Fahad Hamshi's Birthday Today
Vigil Tonight Radio Free Fahad in Lower (Manhattan)
Performance and Vigil from ((((Radio Free Fahad))))
Article at DemocracyNow! dot org here
ACTION: from Educators for Civil Liberties here
Posted by CN at 4:23 PM