Hands Off Amer Jubran
Statement Issued By Amer Jubran Defense Committee
After a year of refusing to present evidence or witnesses in its endlessly delayed prosecution of Amer Jubran, the federal government handed Amers lawyer a fifty-two page document presenting its casescarcely more than a week before Amers final trial.
At Amers pre-trial hearing in February, the INS acknowledged that it had no witnesses or evidence against Amer, except for a slight irregularity in the dates of the original paperwork he submitted for his green card. The charge connected with this problem in dates was later dropped. The judge in the case, Leonard Shapiro, demanded that all relevant documents be revealed to the court by June 24th; as of Amers first trial date, July 24th, no reports had been submitted. (Several attempts by Amers lawyer to obtain documents under the Pilot Disclosure Program were unsuccessful.)
The government appears to have counted on its ability to intimidate Amers ex-wife and members of her family into not appearing on his behalf. These witnesses report that federal agents visited them during the week before the trial and questioned them in a threatening manner. According to Amers ex-wife, the interrogating agents claimed that Amer was a dangerous person involved in the events of September 11tha charge that is not only false, but absent from all official government allegations. As those familiar with Amers case will know, the government has consistently claimed that this case is merely an immigration matter.
All reports and witness affidavits that the government intends to use in the trial were filed after it became clear that their primary strategy of intimidating Amers own witnessesincluding his ex-wifehad failed. During the July 24th trial, which was supposed to be the final hearing, the government presented no documents and called no witnesses, which were remarked upon by the judge. After the court heard testimony from Amers ex-wife, which the judge stated was quite convincing, prosecuting attorney Rick Neville asked for a postponement on the pretext that his wife was ill. No mention was made of the ongoing investigation. Neville agreed to a September 25th trial date, but in late August he asked for another postponement, claiming that he had already bought tickets to a September 26th event somewhere in Indiana, which he planned on driving to on the 25th. However, on the morning of the 25thwhen the trial was supposed to be taking placehe was still in his office. The documents received in the past few days make clear that a considerable portion of the investigation took place on or after the date of the scheduled final deportation hearing on July 24, under the cloak of these two delays.
The packet contains 19 items and is 52 pages long; it includes seven separate investigation reports involving three different federal agencies and contains irrelevant records dating back years before Amers marriage took place. We know from the documents that the investigation was conducted by at least twelve different federal agents. The names of several agents were blacked out, but some names were given: BICE employees Richard Deasy, David Riccio, Jeffrey Cooper, and David Atkins, who threatened Amer with indefinite detention and insisted that he waive his right to counsel; FBI agents Charles Nelson, Voiret (first name unknown), Cheryl Bassett, J. Michael Hagen, and Michael Scully (who identified himself as FBI Agent Joe Schmoe while interrogating Amer); and, deserving of special mention, Special Agent John Blake, of the Department of Homeland Security, who, at Amers trial, identified himself as a concerned member of the public until the judge forced him to show his identification. Agent Blake was later discovered watching Amer Jubran and members of his defense committee at a rally protesting the visit of John Ashcroft.
The government has apparently devoted vast quantities of time and money to investigating details about Amers life in the U.S. going back to 1988details unrelated to the legitimacy of Amers marriage, the sole issue at stake in the immigration trial. When confronted by concerned citizens or members of the press about the fact that Amer was targeted because he was a political activistin direct violation of his basic rightsthe INS (now the BICE) has continually claimed that this is merely a routine immigration case. The size of this fishing expedition, though, clearly shows that it is no mere routine investigation.
The U.S. government and its police agenciesboth local and federalhave been watching and documenting Amers political actions since he began to become a prominent spokesman for Palestine and against U.S. military actions. After a failed attempt to jail Amer on false assault allegations, the government decided to take advantage of the vulnerability of immigrants in the post-September 11th climate and the present case began: FBI and INS agents raided Amers home, detained him without charges, and threatened him with indefinite detention for refusing to answer questions about his political activism without his lawyer present. When a strong defense campaign won Amer release on bond after 17 days in detention, the government began a sustained attempt to force Amer from the country based on technicalities in his immigration status. As each strategy has crumbled, the government has moved to a new onefalse assault charges, de facto power of detention, deportation proceedings through the U.S. immigration authorities. We are left wondering what it will use nextsecret evidence? False charges of terrorism?
The loud and constant opposition expressed by his supporters continues to be his strongest protection against governmental abuses of powerabuses which are becoming more and more severe.