Docs Confirm Lack of Due Process in Communications Management Units, Attorneys Say
For the first time, hundreds of documents detailing the Bureau of Prisons’ process for designating prisoners to controversial Communications Management Units (CMUs) are public. The documents had been under a protective order in the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) lawsuit, Aref v. Holder, since CCR filed the case in 2010.
The CMUs were quietly opened in Terre Haute, IN and Marion, IL in 2006 and 2008, respectively, to monitor and control the communications of certain prisoners and to isolate them from other prisoners and the outside world. But the documents revealed today show that the BOP did not draft criteria for designating prisoners to the facilities until 2009 and that, even then, different offices within the BOP, each of which plays a role in the designation process, have a different understanding of the criteria. Other documents reveal that the reasons provided to CMU prisoners for their designation were incomplete, inaccurate, and sometimes even false. Discovery in the case also shows that prisoners were told they could earn their way out of the CMU by completing 18 months with clear conduct, but upon meeting that goal, their requests for transfer out of the CMU were repeatedly denied without explanation. Other documents show political speech was used as a factor in CMU designation. The documents made public today also show that 60 percent of CMU prisoners are Muslim, though Muslims comprise only six percent of the federal prisoner population.
Read More Here: Center for Constitutional Rights
Sally Eberhardt, a researcher with Educators for Civil Liberties, tells IPS these monthly vigils began in 2009 to highlight legal irregularities in the case against Fahad Hashmi, a Pakistan-born U.S. citizen who was arrested at London’s Heathrow Airport in 2005 and became the first citizen to be extradited to the U.S. under new laws passed after 9/11.
Hashmi spent three years in solitary confinement at the MCC before ever being charged with a crime. He accepted a government plea bargain of one-count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorist groups and, in 2010, began a 15-year sentence at the federal “supermax” prison in Florence, Colorado.
Weekly vigils held in the autumn of 2009 through Hashmi’s sentencing gradually attracted civil liberties groups, including Amnesty International, the Council on Arab-Islamic Relations and the Centre for Constitutional Rights (CCR), along with family members of other incarcerated Muslims, who have now coalesced into a movement known as the No Separate Justice (NSJ) campaign.
Read More Here: Inter Press Service News Agency
A trial is currently underway of a man with a serious disability whose name is known across the world. He stands accused of a very heinous crime for which many would like to see him locked away for the rest of his life. Like many defendants in the public eye, he has been subjected to a form of trial by media as his words and emotions are scrutinised by reporters and experts to ascertain his guilt or innocence. His critics have accused him of lying and playing to the crowd while a sizeable portion of the population have sympathised with his alleged victims. So loathed and dehumanized has this person become within the public perception that the mass media have even been able to repeatedly mock and ridicule his disability with complete impunity.
Read More Here: Cage Prisoners UK
Published on Jul 27, 2011
Sharmin Sadequee speaks about the unjust conviction and imprisonment of her brother, Shifa Sadequee, by the U.S. federal government. (See http://freeshifa.com/) The presentation was part of a panel discussion on “Resisting Profiling, Preemptive Prosecution and Prisoner Abuse, A citizens hearing to confront repression of human rights and civil liberties by the criminal justice system.” The event was July 16, 2011, in Detroit, Michigan (USA).
The panel presentation focused on how the ‘War on Terror’ climate and its repressive legal practices in the criminal justice system have affected civil liberties and human rights of Arab, Muslim, African American, South Asian, and all immigrant communities and the broader social justice movement.
by Sharmin Sadequee
My family’s connection with my brother dates back to the time when my parents, grandmother, two siblings and I were stationed among the masses of people dressed in two-piece seamless white linen. We were meditating in the Arabian desert of Arafat under the scorching heat at the holy pilgrimage in 1985. We joined thousands of pilgrims sweltering in the blazing sand under white tents thirsty for cool breeze but all raised their hands up in prayers. My parents wanted a child, and they prayed that day for a son. Melting in supplication with the worshippers, we implored God to bestow upon us a little brother. We were all ecstatic when my little brother was born in Northern Virginia in 1986.
He became the jewel of our family because he was the manifestation of our prayers, my mother’s prayers, grandmother’s prayers, delivered to my family, humbling my parents to their relationship as human beings to the sacred universe.
Shifa’s wellbeing behind bars is always confining our minds, especially my parents as they are unable to be there for him. This is a punishment for us that began with his illegal kidnapping and incarceration. The horrid Bureau of Prison in Atlanta made us visit him through a video monitor and headphones when he was in solitary confinement for over three years before his trial had even begun. When we were allowed contact visits once or twice a year for holidays after many requests, the prison forced us to see him in orange jump-suit shackled with chains in his feet and hands. The iron manacles did not allow him to open a soda can or eat anything we bought him from the vending machine.
(Reuters) – Two British men who pleaded guilty to raising money for al Qaeda and the Taliban were denied their bid on Friday to gain access to secret documents about a witness whose testimony could have a major impact on how long they spend in prison.
The pair, 39-year-old Babar Ahmad and 34-year-old Syed Talha Ahsan, have argued in papers filed in U.S. District Court in New Haven, Connecticut, that they have a right to more information on the witness, British citizen Saajid Badat.
According to U.S. prosecutors, Badat was recruited into al Qaeda as a result of Ahmad’s work and went on to play a role in the attempt by “shoe bomber” Richard Reid, another Briton, to blow up a jetliner over the Atlantic Ocean just three months after the September 11, 2001, attacks.
Defense attorneys for Ahmad and Ahsan argued before U.S. District Judge Janet Hall that the government should provide transcripts of 55 taped interviews with Badat conducted in 2008 by British authorities and photos of suspected militants.