Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Professor to Be Deported After Secret Evidence Case/NY Times|
|11/28/01 at 10:52:21|
November 27, 2001
Professor to Be Deported After Secret Evidence Case
By DANA CANEDY
IAMI, Nov. 26 — A Palestinian man who was held in United States
custody for more than three and a half years on secret evidence was
jailed again this weekend after an appeals court ruled that the
government could deport him.
The professor, Mazen al-Najjar, who was born in Israeli-occupied Gaza
and settled in Tampa, Fla., was arrested outside his home on Saturday
and faces deportation for overstaying a student visa in the early
Last Tuesday, the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th
Circuit, in Atlanta, upheld Mr. Najjar's deportation.
The Justice Department maintains that Mr. Najjar has ties to
terrorist groups and that his legal recourse for fighting deportation
has simply run out. But lawyers for Mr. Najjar say he is being used
to test the government's powers to detain foreigners, particularly
men of Middle Eastern descent, a power they say the government is
Mr. Najjar, a former adjunct professor at the University of South
Florida, has raised three daughters in Tampa, is active in a mosque
and has no criminal record. He came to the attention of federal
authorities because of his involvement in the World and Islam Studies
Enterprise, a research center affiliated with the university, and the
Islamic Concern Project, whose activities included sending money to
orphans in occupied Palestine, his lawyers said.
The Justice Department said Mr. Najjar supported terrorism through
The I.C.P. and the World and Islam Studies Enterprise "are front
organizations that raised funds for militant Islamic-Palestinian
groups such as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas," the Justice
Department said in a statement. "Furthermore, Al-Najjar's Tampa-based
I.C.P. was responsible for petitioning for other known terrorists to
obtain visas to enter the United States."
Mr. Najjar has repeatedly denied those accusations. One of his
lawyers said today that the government had never proved its case.
"This was one of the last secret evidence cases," said David Cole,
Mr. Najjar's lead lawyer and a professor at the Georgetown University
Law Center. "The government has lost case after case in which it has
sought to detain or deport aliens on the basis of secret evidence."
The Immigration and Naturalization Service first detained Mr. Najjar
in May 1997, contending that he was involved in organizations that
were fronts for terrorism. But citing national security, the
government refused to reveal its evidence to Mr. Najjar's lawyers.
In May 2000, a federal judge in Miami ruled that Mr. Najjar's
detention violated due process and ordered a hearing in which he
would be able to confront the evidence against him. Last December, an
immigration judge ruled that a summary of the secret evidence
provided by the Immigration and Naturalization Service was not
detailed enough to allow Mr. Najjar to defend himself.
The Board of Immigration Appeals decided to release Mr. Najjar, and
he left jail on Dec. 15.
Russell Bergeron, a spokesman for the immigration service in Miami,
said today that last week's decision to detain Mr. Najjar "was made
in consultation with the Justice Department, although it is based
purely on immigration issues."
Mr. Najjar's lawyers said they were reviewing options that might
enable him to remain in the country.
"We don't believe that it is proper for I.N.S. to detain Mazen al-
Najjar because the government has already failed to prove that he was
either a threat to national security or a danger to the community,"
said Martin Schwartz, one of his lawyers.
A Justice Department spokesman said Mr. Najjar's arrest had occurred
after he exhausted his appeals through the courts.
"All of them found Mazen al-Najjar did not merit relief from
deportation," said the spokesman, Dan Nelson. "This is a matter that
addresses an immigration law violation of Mr. Najjar on his student
visa when he entered the U.S. originally in 1984."
Individual posts do not necessarily reflect the views of Jannah.org, Islam, or all Muslims. All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners. Comments are owned by the poster and may not be used without consent of the author.The rest © Jannah.Org