The LA Times is reporting horrible human rights abuses that are being perputrated against the 700+ folks the FBI has “detained” after the terrorist attacks.
Here are some excerpts from the article:
- In Mississippi, a 20-year-old student from Pakistan said he was stripped and beaten in his cell by other inmates while jail guards failed to intervene and denied him proper medical care. The FBI is investigating the incident.
- In New York, prosecutors are investigating an Egyptian detainee’s courtroom allegations of abuse by a guard, and the Israeli Consulate is concerned about five Israeli men who say they were blindfolded, handcuffed in their cells and forced to take lie detector tests.
- In Denton, a man from Saudi Arabia initially was denied an attorney and was deprived of a mattress, a blanket, a drinking cup and a clock to tell him when to recite his Muslim prayers, his lawyer said.
(later on in the article…)
Dallas attorney Paul Zoltan is representing a Saudi man being held in Denton. The lawyer declined to identify his client, except to say that he is in his 20s, works as a sales representative and faces only minor immigration charges.
“He was kept in leg irons when meeting with his family,” Zoltan said. “They didn’t give him a drinking cup. They didn’t give him a mattress. They didn’t give him a blanket. He had to ask what time of day it was so he could pray toward Mecca, and they wouldn’t tell him. He’s very frightened.”
- Judges are denying bond, closing hearings and sealing documents. Prosecutors are refusing to divulge what is occurring behind closed doors in jails and courtrooms. Even defense attorneys often do not know what is happening to their clients, or they refuse to discuss them.
Because of the extraordinary level of secrecy surrounding the investigation, it is impossible to ascertain how many individuals may have been mistreated.
Federal authorities refuse to disclose even the number of people in custody.
In an attempt to find out who is detained and how they are being treated, the Los Angeles Times contacted more than 20 defense lawyers and civil rights monitors. In every case, the lawyers complained that their clients were being held too long, and almost all said their clients had suffered some kind of mistreatment or undue hardship.
- Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller insist there has been no disregard for the rights of detainees.
“This Justice Department will never waver in our defense of the Constitution nor relent in our defense of civil rights,” Ashcroft told the House Judiciary Committee last month. “The American spirit that rose from the rubble in New York knows no prejudice and defies division by race, ethnicity or religion.”
- There have been numerous allegations of people being kept from their attorneys. According to the law, defendants charged with a crime are entitled to an appointed attorney if they cannot afford to hire their own. In immigration court, detainees are told they may hire a lawyer but that one is not automatically assigned.
- Abdulsalam Achou, a Syrian bread salesman living in Jersey City, N.J., has been detained since Sept. 15 for staying in this country 19 days past his visa permit, a minor infraction, said his lawyer, Lamiaa Elfar.
“His wife is close to nine months pregnant, and she has a 1-year-old daughter who was born here,” Elfar said. “She has nobody here except him. She doesn’t even know how she’s going to get to a hospital. She has no one to take her.”
It’s time that we reign in facists like Attorney General John Ashcroft. Contact President George Bush and tell him we demand that human rights be respected for all!