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[secret_evidence] Mazen Al-Najjar To Be Released on Bail

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  • Islamic News and Information Network
    Assalamu alaikum, TAMPA BAY COALITION FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE Contact Person: Dr. Sami A. Al-Arian, Chairman (813) 679-8282 secret_evidence@hotmail.com GOD IS
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 6, 2000
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      Assalamu'alaikum,

      TAMPA BAY COALITION FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE

      Contact Person: Dr. Sami A. Al-Arian, Chairman (813) 679-8282
      secret_evidence@...

      GOD IS GREAT

      SECRET EVIDENCE DETAINEE TO BE RELEASED On BAIL Palestinian Held for
      Over Three Years

      Tampa- December 6, 2000: After 1301 days in detention on secret
      evidence and without any charges, an immigration judge in Bradenton,
      Florida today ordered the release on bond of Mazen Al Najjar, a
      Palestinian held for over three and one-half years as a national
      security threat on the basis of secret evidence that neither he nor
      his lawyers ever had a chance to see. Judge R. Kevin McHugh ordered Al
      Najjar released on $8,000 bond.

      In 1997, the same judge ruled, based on secret evidence presented to
      him behind closed doors by the Immigration and Naturalization Service
      (INS), that Al Najjar posed a threat to national security, and should
      be detained without bond. At the time, Al Najjar was told only that
      the evidence showed that he was associated with the Palestinian
      Islamic Jihad.

      In May 2000, a federal judge in Miami (Joan Lenard) ruled that
      detaining Al Najjar on secret evidence violated his due process
      rights. She did not order his release, however, and instead remanded
      the matter to the Immigration Judge to permit the INS another chance
      -- in a fair hearing -- to show that Al Najjar should continue to be
      detained as a national security threat.

      The immigration judge ruled in October 2000 that the INS had failed in
      a ten-day public hearing to show that Al Najjar posed any threat to
      national security. But the INS then proceeded to present secret
      evidence again, behind closed doors, and without the presence of Al
      Najjar or his attorneys. Judge Lenard had left open the possibility
      that the INS could present secret evidence, but only if it could do so
      in a way that give Al Najjar notice of the evidence against him and a
      meaningful opportunity to confront it. Judge McHugh ruled today that
      the government's unclassified summary failed to meet Judge Lenard's
      standard, and therefore he declined to consider the government's
      secret evidence.

      David Cole, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center and Al
      Najjar's lead counsel, said, "We are delighted and relieved. Mazen Al
      Najjar has spent over three years behind bars, despite having never
      been charged with a single crime, on the basis of secret evidence he
      has never seen. This is only the latest in an unbroken string of
      defeats for the INS in cases where it has sought to lock up immigrants
      on the basis of secret evidence, and it illustrates, once again, that
      the INS's practice cannot be squared with due process."

      Sami Al-Arian, the chairman of the coalition said, "we thank God for
      this great gift during the holy month. The truth has finally come out.
      Our community is very happy that Mazen will celebrate Ramadan with his
      family and children after more than 43 months in detention. Although
      secret evidence is shameful, this is a tribute to the greatness of the
      American judicial system."

      The Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace expresses its gratitude
      and heart-felt thanks to the great legal team led by Professor David
      Cole and the other counsels for Al Najjar that included Martin
      Schwartz of Tampa, Florida, Joe Hohenstein of the Nationalities
      Service Center in Philadelphia, Nancy Chang of the Center for
      Constititutional Rigths, Randall Marshall of the ACLU of Florida, and
      Ira Kurzban of Miami.

      In addition, our coalition is thankful to the the Honorable
      Congressmen David Bonior (D-MI) and Tom Campbell (R-CA), the National
      Coaliltion to Protect Political Freedom, the Hillsborough Organization
      for Progress and Equality (HOPE), the National and Florida ACLU, the
      countless organizations, community members, supporters, sympathizers,
      politicians, journalists, editorial writers, columnists, and thousands
      of concerned citizens around the nation and the world. God bless them
      all.

      End.




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