[Marxism] Free Ashraf Al-Jailani, Support Michele Swensen

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Wed Jun 2 16:16:49 MDT 2004

Ashraf Al-Jailani is a Yemeni-born permanent legal resident of the 
United States. Al-Jailani married Michele Swensen, an American, in 
February 1996. They have three children, now ages 3 (Sami, who will 
be 4 on June 17), 5 (Layla,), and 7 (Amina). On October 23, 2002, 
Al-Jailani was arrested at his job, the Akron-based GOJO Industries' 
Cuyahoga Falls "soap-manufacturing plant where he'd worked as a 
quality-control chemist for more than two years" (Tiffani 
Helberg/Ohio News Network, "Wife Still Fights for Muslim Man's 
Justice," Columbus Dispatch, February 25, 2004, p. C5), on the 
pretext that "the appeal of a deportation order stemming from a 
domestic violence incident almost three years earlier had been 
denied," using the 1996 Immigration Act, even though "al-Jailani had 
been pardoned by Ohio Gov. Robert Taft in 2001 (Lauri Lebo, "Yemeni 
Man Still in York Jail; For Second Time, Judge Orders Man Out on 
Bail; Appeal Pending," York Dispatch, December 10, 2003). Five 
minutes later, six FBI agents showed up at Al-Jailani and Swensen's 
house to search it, saying that they found Al-Jailani's business card 
in the wallet of a suspected Al-Qaeda money launderer.

Al-Jailani has been imprisoned without charges ever since. The 
NewStandard reports that "Al-Jailani's FBI file, obtained through a 
Freedom of Information Act request, revealed that the government has 
no record of having investigated him" ("FOI Request Reveals FBI Never 
Investigated Yemeni for Terror Ties," June 2, 2004).

First in March 2003 and again in December 2003, U.S. Immigration 
Court Judge Walt Durling ordered Al-Jailani freed on bond, finding 
the government's "evidence" inadequate: "'If one steps back a moment 
and examines the government's theory, there is no direct evidence 
linking respondent to terrorism, only certain indirect 'links' to 
others known or suspected of being associated with terrorists.' 
Durling expressed surprise that the FBI has not interrogated 
Al-Jailani since his arrest in October 2002. When asked why, 
Charnesky said the bureau assumed Al-Jailani would simply lie. The 
judge found this answer strange" (Karen R. Long, "Judge Orders Kent 
Man Freed; U.S. Blocks Order," Plain Dealer, December 5, 2003, p. 
B1). By now, "Durling has ordered on three occasions that Al-Jailani 
be released on a $1,500 bond, but the federal government has blocked 
his release, appealing each decision" (Stephen Dyer, "Detainee, 
Children Still Apart: U.S. Refuses to Let Jailed Former Kent Man Go 
to Portage Custody Hearing," Akron Beacon Journal, April 16, 2004). 
Judge "Durling issued his third order releasing Al-Jailani on March 
23: (Dyer, April 16, 2004).

The government's detention of Al-Jailani has taken a heavy toll on 
his family: "Swensen said Al-Jailani is limited to one phone call 
every other week. Because he was the family's sole breadwinner, she's 
now scraping by on government assistance and can't afford to visit 
him in prison. . . . Swensen said she has battled depression since 
her husband's arrest. One of the lowest points, she said, came last 
summer when her condition worsened and she had to spend two months in 
the hospital. Because of her absence, she lost custody of the 
children" (Helberg, February 25, 2004). Her nightmare has not come to 
an end . . .

What can you do to help?  Go to 
with links to a petition, contact information, etc.

* Critical Montages: <http://montages.blogspot.com/>
* Bring Them Home Now! <http://www.bringthemhomenow.org/>
* Calendars of Events in Columbus: 
<http://www.freepress.org/calendar.php>, & <http://www.cpanews.org/>
* Student International Forum: <http://sif.org.ohio-state.edu/>
* Committee for Justice in Palestine: <http://www.osudivest.org/>
* Al-Awda-Ohio: <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Al-Awda-Ohio>
* Solidarity: <http://www.solidarity-us.org/>

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