Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Join Us in Akron on October 22

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A Day of Rememberance For Hope and Human Rights for Ashraf Al-Jailani

October 22, 2pm-3:30pm at the Islamic Center of Akron
ISLAMIC COMMUNITY CENTER
152 E STEELS CORNERS ROAD, STOW, OH 44224

Program:

Dr. Julio Pino, Kent State University; Greg Coleridge, American Friends Service Committee; Farhad Sethna, Attorney for Ashraf Al-Jailani; Linda Park, Vice President, Greater Cleveland Immigrant Support Network; Julia Shearson, Director, the Council on American Islamic Relations, Cleveland office; Aman Ali, President Kent Muslim Student Assoc.; Katie Daley and the Detainees performance of the "Ballad of Ashraf Al-Jailani".

The Greater Cleveland Immigrant Support Network (GCISN) recognizes three years of detention for a man who has not been charged with a crime. He is a Yemeni Muslim, husband and father of three from Kent, Ohio. All who have concern for the traditions of civil liberties, and the foundations of equal justice under the law will find this matter of great importance. This is one of the most egregious violations of standards of criminal justice procedure and human rights imaginable.

Mr. Ashraf Al-Jailani has been detained by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) since his arrest on October 23, 2002. Mr Al-Jailani has not been charged, nor interviewed by US officials who originally arranged for his arrest based on their suspicions of terrorist ties. An immigration judge, Walter Durling, has ruled three times, in hearings held in Pennsylvania, that the government has failed to present any evidence that Mr. Al-Jailani was a danger to the community, and that he should be released on bond. Through appeals, the DHS has managed to stymie the judge's rulings through appeals and delays by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office (ICE). Ashraf Al-Jailani was also awarded protection from deportation through his attorney's humanitarian appeal under the Convention Against Torture (CAT) in December 2004.


In the CAT hearing, the government attorney retracted the allegation that Mr. Al-Jailani was tied to terrorism in order to prove the government case that would make him deportable to Yemen. Mr. Al-Jailani had contended that the "terrorist" brand issued by the US would cause the Yemeni government to imprison and possibly torture him if he returned to his nation of origin. In spite of the court ruling in his favor on the CAT appeal, Ashraf Al-Jailani remains in York County Jail, a six hour-drive from his family in Kent.



The government has shifted its rationalization for Mr. Al-Jailani's detention to the assertion that he may be a "danger to his family". However, his wife Michele Swensen, has been Ashraf's staunchest advocate. She has bird-dogged congress and government officials, vouched for him publicaly in local and national news, and created a website, www.helpashraf.com. The GCISN maintains that any allegations of domestic violence must be substantiated and examined under state and local jurisdictions, not federal.



Gojo Enterprises management, Mr. Al-Jailani's former employer, vouched for him, as well as hundreds of area residents and citizens who have signed statements on his behalf, calling for his right to due process. The GCISN has recently asked Congressman Tim Ryan to submit legislation restore Mr. Al-Jailani's rights under the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights.



Michele Swensen says that Ashraf is a broken man, "He has lost his hope. We need him. I just want him freed.".



GCISN calls for Operation: Restore Hope and Civil Rights for Ashraf Al-Jailani. Please join us and members of his family and mosque for a "day of rememberence" on October 22, 2-3:30pm at the Islamic Center of Akron in Stow, Ohio

For more details call GCISN at 440-237-0673 or email truth_force@yahoo.com or visit the websites w ww.WeAreAllImmigrants.blogspot.com and www.helpashraf.com.

October 22: A Day of Remembrance for Ashraf Al-Jailani

October 17, 2005


Dear Members of the Press and friends of Ashraf:

1095 days and counting:

This October 22 (next Saturday) will mark the completion of the 3rd year of Ashraf's detention in a remote Pennsylvania prison pending his deportation from the USA.

That's a total of 1,095 days in detention for a misdemeanor conviction subsequently pardoned by the Governor of Ohio.

For three years now, Ashraf has suffered quietly in jail, while his three children and his wife suffer hundreds of miles away. This so that the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security ostensibly keep our nation safer from this "terror suspect." For those who have been following this perversity of justice, you know that the Department of Justice have never ever formally gathered enough evidence to charge Ashraf with any crime.

Last December, Ashraf was granted a waiver from removal based on a well-founded fear that he would be persecuted and tortured if he would be removed to Yemen. The USICE has also appealed that decision, and it remains pending before the Board of Immigration Appeals. Likewise, Ashraf's petition for Habeas Corpus relief has been filed and is pending before the Federal court in Pennsylvania.

Ashraf's detention is possibly the longest (that we know of, anyway), of any of the post 9-11 detainees to date. Most others have already accepted removal (deportation) and have been dispatched to their home countries. Those who couldn't - or wouldn't - go were secretly "rendered" overseas on CIA and DOJ-chartered flights for questioning using illegal methods.

Ashraf would have been gone too, except he chose to fight his deportation because he could not bear to be separated from his family. His youngest still waits for the evening when his "baba" - as he fondly called Ashraf at age 2 - will return home to play soccer with him. Meanwhile, Ashraf's daughters learn to ride bikes on their own, as Michele struggles to keep the family's heads above water.

Last December, Ashraf was granted a waiver from removal based on a well-founded fear that he would be persecuted and tortured if he would be removed to Yemen. The USICE has also appealed that decision, and it remains pending before the Board of Immigration Appeals. Likewise, Ashraf's petition for Habeas Corpus relief has been filed and is pending before the Federal court in Pennsylvania.

To commemorate Ashraf's three years in jail, the Greater Cleveland Immigrant Support Network has organized a "Day of Rememberance for Ashraf Al-Jailani."

Details are below.

We encourage you to attend.

Thank you for your time. Thank you for caring.

Respectfully,

Farhad Sethna
330-376-6766
(Attorney for Ashraf Al-Jailani)