[floridaleft] Al-Najjar gets screwed again... (fwd)

Michael Hoover hoov at SPAMfreenet.tlh.fl.us
Wed Dec 13 14:36:58 MST 2000


forwarded by Michael Hoover

> Reno blocks release of Palestinian jailed for three years
> December 12, 2000
>
> BRADENTON, Florida (AP) -- Attorney General Janet Reno on Tuesday blocked
> the release of a Palestinian man jailed for three years without charges, a
> congressman who has criticized U.S. handling of the case said.
>
> Just moments before Mazen Al-Najjar was to be released, attorneys received
> a phone call telling them of Reno's action, said Rep. David Bonior,
> D-Michigan, who has been advocating the man's release.
>
> The government has maintained that Al-Najjar, 43, had links to Mideast
> terrorists and was a threat to national security.
>
> Al-Najjar denied the allegations. Not even his lawyers have ever seen the
> evidence against him.
>
> "I'm stunned and disappointed," Bonior said. "We have to be strong and
> keep fighting and it will happen."
>
> Officials with the Justice Department in Washington did not immediately
> return calls seeking comment Tuesday.
>
> Last week, U.S. Immigration Judge R. Kevin McHugh ordered Al-Najjar's
> release on $8,000 bond, saying the government failed to give him enough
> information to defend himself. McHugh had viewed the classified evidence
> in chambers. The Board of Immigration Appeal then held up the release, but
> the board lifted its own order Monday.
>
> Outside the Manatee County Detention Center 45 miles south of Tampa,
> Al-Najjar's wife and children, other family members, his attorney Martin
> Schwartz and Bonior had gathered Tuesday to await the release.
>
> The case has been championed by lawyers, civil rights groups and members
> of Congress who say Al-Najjar's detention without charges -- based on
> evidence to which he has no access -- is unconstitutional.
>
> Bonior last week called for Reno's resignation because of Al-Najjar's case
> and that of Anwar Haddam, who has been held on secret evidence for four
> years in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
>
> They are among about 20 immigrants, mostly Arabs living in America, held
> in U.S. jails without criminal charges on the basis of classified
> evidence.
>
> Al-Najjar, who was raised in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, has been in the
> United States since 1981. His student visa expired years ago and the INS
> contends he has been living illegally in this country for years. He is
> married and has three American-born daughters.
>
> He and his brother-in-law were associated with the World and Islam Studies
> Enterprise, an academic think tank affiliated with the University of South
> Florida, and the Islamic Committee for Palestine, a group that said its
> mission was fostering better understanding of Muslim issues.
>
> The U.S. Government maintained the Florida organizations fronted for the
> Islamic Jihad, which has claimed responsibility for terrorist bombings in
> the Middle East.
>
> Al-Najjar has denied any ties to terrorists.





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