Palestinian Activist Released
Amer Jubran is a Palestinian human rights activist from Rhode Island. He helped found the New England Committee for the Defense of Palestine, an increasingly prominent organization of activists.
On Saturday, November 2nd, the newly formed New England Committee to Defend Palestine (NECDP) held a protest rally and march through downtown Boston. Two days later, Amer Jubran was taken from his home by agents of the FBI and INS.
Although Amer has not been charged with any crime, he was imprisoned for 17 days at the Adult Correctional Institution in Cranston, Rhode Island, and, under current U.S. law, he could have been detained there indefinitely. While the case is being handled under the jurisdiction of the INS, its substance has nothing to do with whatever alleged technicality the INS is holding him for.
Amer was arrested illegally, without a warrant, and, during the arrest, was verbally and physically assaulted by INS agent David Atkins. Moreover, he was arrested for obviously political reasonsthe INS, after threatening him with fifty years in prison, told him that he would be home by lunchtime if he answered the FBIs questions about his political organizing in Boston. It was only after Amer invoked his constitutional right to have an attorney present that he was arrested.
A defense committee, the Amer Jubran Defense Committee (AJDC), was formed immediately and started contacting a broad spectrum of friends, allies and associates in the civil rights and antiwar movement both in the U.S. and abroad. A typical communication was published in Socialist Viewpoint last month.
In its requests for support, the committee noted, The will of the INS, as expressed by INS agent Mike Cliffordwho hung up on Amers lawyer immediately after telling him this over the phoneis to detain Amer indefinitely without having to give reasons. Our will is that Amer be released immediately so that he can continue his articulate and courageous political activism on behalf of the Palestinian people, which is the only reason he was put in jail in the first place.
Consequently, the INS received such a deluge of letters, faxes, and telephone calls that they scheduled a hearing contrary to their stated intent.
Then the AJDC arranged for a show of support by sending a call to local supporters to assemble outside the JFK Federal Building in Boston, where the hearing was to be held. In part, the AJDC notice read:
The campaign was successful. On the evening of November 21, 2002, the committee sent out a press release and notice to its supporters:
Socialist Viewpoint urges all its readers to write letters as the AJDC requests to the INS, the FBI, and the U.S. Justice Department protesting the harassment of Amer Jubran. For names and addresses for your protests, the committee can be reached at:
Amer Jubran Defense Committee
Also, a web site is running at www.amerjubrandefense.org