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Abusive Treatment of Dr. Al-Arian Continues 14 April 2008

Posted by MOZAFFAR in Politics.
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Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace
April 13, 2008

Abusive Treatment of Dr. Al-Arian Continues
Details Emerge of 36-hour Ordeal

As reported on Friday, Dr. Sami Al-Arian was transferred that day into the custody of immigration authorities, in compliance with a plea agreement that promised his deportation. He was placed in the special housing unit (SHU) of the Howard County Detention Center in Jessup, Maryland, where he has been held in isolation and denied medical treatment and visits with his family. New details have emerged on Dr. Al-Arian’s ordeal over the past 36 hours.

On the morning of Friday, April 11, Dr. Al-Arian was taken to the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia and placed in a holding cell for three hours. He was then moved to the Alexandria Detention Center where he remained for three hours until immigration officers took him to an office in Fairfax, Virginia, for processing. At 10 PM, he arrived at the Howard County Detention Center and was placed in the general population in accordance with standard procedure. Several hours later, however, Dr. Al-Arian was placed in the isolation wing of the facility, surrounded by six empty cells. He has been placed under 23-hour lockdown.

On the 41st day of his hunger strike, Dr. Al-Arian, for the first time, was under no medical monitoring. For the previous 40 days, he was housed either in the medical unit at Northern Neck Regional Jail,
or at the Federal Medical Center in Butner.

*What is more alarming, concerned citizens who have called authorities at the Howard County Detention Center, have been misled and lied to by the officials. Contrary to their statements, Dr. Al-Arian’s treatment is not standard procedure. Dozens of inmates arrive to the facility daily, and none are subjected to these harsh measures. In fact, Dr. Al-Arian had already been processed and classified prior to his removal from the general population to the isolation unit.

*Dr. Al-Arian remains on his hunger strike, despite what the prison officials are telling concerned callers. In fact, Dr. Al-Arian repeatedly complained of dizzy spells and headaches, while medical personnel at the facility refused to treat him. It was only after 8 hours of pleading that he was given pain medication.

*Officials have also passed on to callers a phone number that allegedly belongs to INS, a government agency that no longer exists. No one answered that number.

*Dr. Al-Arian was handcuffed on all four occasions he was taken to medical personnel and forced to walk long distances and up and down stairs, though he is in a vastly deteriorating state of health. At
the previous facility, he was given a wheel chair, or medical personnel were brought to his room. Dr. Al-Arian has lost 34 pounds since he began his hunger strike on March 3. He drank no water for
the first 18 days of the strike. Basic Information about Special Housing Unit at Howard County
Detention Facility: Dr. Al-Arian has been denied the following rights that were available to him at Northern Neck and FMC Butner:

Reading materials
Writing materials
Radio
Ice water
Qur’an
Religious services
Medical monitoring
Regular access to telephone
Regular visitation
Shower

Based on the punitive treatment of Dr. Al-Arian, it is clear that the intentions of the authorities are to break his will. This reflects an expressed desire on the part of government officials to end the hunger strike he began to protest his indefinite detention. There has been no indication that the Department of Justice intends to honor its agreement and allow him to leave the country. The abuses Dr. Al-Arian has suffered during the past two days are also punishment for his refusal to testify before a grand jury. He has repeatedly asserted that he will not violate his principles or the terms of his plea agreement.

TAKE ACTION:

1) All concerned citizens are requested to contact the facility and call for Dr. Al-Arian to be treated humanely, and given adequate medical attention. The authorities should be requested to uphold their basic protocol regarding detainees, and not subject Dr. Al-Arian to any punitive treatment. The number is (410) 313-5200.

2) We also ask that all concerned citizens contact their congressional representatives and senators with the following request:

* That Dr. Al-Arian be treated humanely and given adequate medical attention, since he has surpassed 40 days on hunger strike.

* That the government respects its obligations under the plea agreement and allow his expeditious deportation.

* That they contact the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to request Dr. Al-Arian’s immediate deportation

* That they conduct an inquiry into the abusive practices by prosecutors in the Eastern District in Virginia, including illegitimate use of the grand jury process, and the punitive treatment in Dr. Al-Arian’s detention.

If only 25 concerned citizens in every district call or visit their member of Congress, we can make a difference.

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