Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Without warning, Al-Najjar jailed|
|11/25/01 at 17:50:03|
In my recent debate tournament i spoke about the injustice of secret evidence and i spoke about al-najjar and how he obtained his freedom. Now i'm going to have to change my speech because he's been put back in jail. His ending was the only happy ending. Now my whole speech is going to be depressing.
I could just kiss lady liberty's feet for giving us such wonderful freedom.
Without warning, Al-Najjar jailed
Jailed for 3 1/2 years on secret evidence, then freed, the former USF teacher's detention is not based on new evidence.
By MIKE BRASSFIELD
published November 25, 2001
TAMPA -- With his wife at work and his three daughters still in bed, Mazen Al-Najjar walked out of his apartment Saturday morning to get quarters to do his laundry. Outside, INS agents were waiting to take him away.
Al-Najjar, a former University of South Florida teacher who was jailed for 31/2 years on secret evidence allegedly tying him to terrorism, was rearrested Saturday for overstaying his visa. After spending nearly a year in freedom, he is in federal prison.
His arrest Saturday was not based on new evidence or classified information, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
Al-Najjar, who entered the United States from Gaza in 1981 and overstayed his student visa, has been fighting deportation since 1996. A federal appeals court affirmed a deportation order against him on Nov. 15, and that's why the INS detained him, federal authorities said.
However, Al-Najjar is a stateless Palestinian who says no country will accept him because his name has been unjustly linked to terrorism. It's unclear whether he could be deported to another country or whether he would simply stay behind bars in the United States indefinitely.
His lawyers say Al-Najjar shouldn't be imprisoned, and they're vowing to take his long-running case to the Supreme Court.
"Why detain a person who has never been accused of a crime, who has already lost 31/2 years of his life to an unconstitutional detention and who has nowhere to go?" said David Cole, a Georgetown University law professor who represents Al-Najjar. "It would be one thing if they had a country in mind. But it's unlikely they're going to be able to deport him."
Al-Najjar was being held Saturday at the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex near Bushnell, about 75 miles north of Tampa Bay in rural Sumter County.
His arrest is the latest chapter in a seven-year controversy that started with accusations that he and others at a USF-affiliated think tank were funding the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist group responsible for suicide bombings in Israel.
Al-Najjar was detained without charges for 1,307 days on the basis of secret government evidence that he has never seen. He was never charged and always maintained his innocence. His detention became an international cause.
In May 2000, a U.S. district judge in Miami ruled that Al-Najjar's rights were violated because the government wouldn't share enough of its evidence to allow him to defend himself. Then-Attorney General Janet Reno ordered his release in December 2000.
When he walked out of an INS detention center in Bradenton 49 weeks ago, he embraced his family as members of his Tampa mosque chanted "Allahu akbar! God is great!"
But on Saturday, worshipers at the Islamic Society of Tampa Bay Area Mosque were observing Ramadan without him.
"The brother was very active here. We're very sad and very shocked," said Dr. Baha Alak, a Tampa infertility specialist. "There was a big celebration here last year when he was released. Now we are back to our feelings of injustice and the inhumane treatment of his case in particular."
After an appeals court gave the go-ahead for Al-Najjar to be deported, his family knew he could be arrested. Government officials did not say what they planned to do. Al-Najjar's wife, Fedaa, had been reluctant to leave him to go to her job in St. Petersburg, but she went to work Saturday.
"You never expect it to happen on the weekend," she said.
Al-Najjar told his three daughters that he was going to a gas station for quarters. He never came back. He asked INS agents to call his brother-in-law, Sami Al-Arian, who went to Al-Najjar's home to tell the girls, ages 6, 11 and 13, what had happened.
"The family has suffered enough. There was no need for this detention," Al-Arian said. "He has no place to go. He is willing to cooperate. If they find him a country, he'd be more than willing to relocate."
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|Re: Without warning, Al-Najjar jailed|
|11/25/01 at 20:37:56|
|Repeal of the secret evidence laws i believe was one of the reasos why Muslims were told to vote for Bush...|
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