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Palestinian Student at Concordia Arrested

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  • ummyakoub
    The Case Of Palestinian Nidal Aloul http://www.montrealmuslimnews.net/nidal.htm The price of defending palestinian human rights and an appeal for help Posted
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 6, 2004
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      The Case Of Palestinian Nidal Aloul
      http://www.montrealmuslimnews.net/nidal.htm

      The price of defending palestinian human rights and an
      appeal for help

      Posted March 4, 2004 - Montreal

      Nidal Aloul is a 21 year old international student
      from Occupied Palestine and is currently enrolled in
      Commerce at Concordia University. He is also a member
      of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, a student
      club under the Concordia Student Union.

      He is currently facing criminal charges as a result of
      the ongoing discrimination against vocal Palestinians
      at Concordia University, perpetuated by pro-Israel
      students, the university's administration, and
      external Zionist pressure groups. The charges against
      him are based on racist interpretation of Nidal saying
      that one day he would be famous. He is being accused
      of saying that he would be famous by being a suicide
      bomber, and he now faces four counts of uttering death
      threats. These charges could potentially result in the
      discontinuation of his student visa and thus his
      deportation back to either Jordan or Palestine, and it
      is without a doubt that these accusations will follow
      him. The following is a call for solidarity and
      financial assistance in a situation that is blatantly
      unjust and carries very serious, damaging
      consequesces.


      WHAT HAPPENED?

      Nidal Aloul engaged in a discussion over the Middle
      East on Concordia premises, on March 11th, 2003, with
      Schlomo Liftschitz, a non-student and Israeli colonel
      who was advocating for Birthright Israel behind a
      Hillel Concordia table, a student club under the
      Concordia Student Union that "stands unequivocally
      with the State of Israel". When the discussion
      degenerated into personal insults ("Nablus is a city
      of donkeys and pigs"; "your name sounds like one of a
      prostitutes," etc), Nidal Aloul told the man that "in
      two years, I'm going to be famous and you will be
      selling falafel." This was interpreted in a racist
      way: Nidal was assumed to be threatening to become a
      suicide bomber because the colonel's narrow vision
      cannot see any Palestinian being famous by any other
      means. As the accuser spoke Arabic due to his
      experience in the IDF, he told Nidal, "Your family
      lives in Nablus? One phone call, one phone call, is
      all I need to make." Nidal took this as a threat,
      knowing quite well that an Israeli colonel could very
      well do just that. He later filed a complaint with
      Concordia Security, understandably feeling unsafe.

      Instead, when Nidal said that he was going to be
      famous one day, Mr. Liftschitz started yelling that
      Nidal was a future suicide bomber who wanted to join
      Hamas. Concordia security immediately took Nidal away
      held him for two hours. Both the police and Concordia
      security detained, searched, and interrogated Nidal
      Aloul, and neither party informed him that had the
      right to a present lawyer. He was eventually released
      when the police decided that Nidal was not a security
      threat. Later that evening, when Nidal was returning
      from his class at the Loyola campus to the Hall
      building, he was called over by a security guard as he
      passed their main office. He was told that Concordia
      security was "missing some information", brought Nidal
      into their offices, sat him down, and told him that
      they were calling the police. When the police arrived,
      Nidal learned that he had four counts of uttering
      death threats against him, filed by four individual
      reports during the time of his release. Nidal was
      arrested on campus, and he spent the night in jail.

      Initially, Nidal's lawyer went into a mediation
      session due to the ridiculous nature of the case. Both
      the university's lawyer and representatives from the
      Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) have been present at
      every single one of his hearings. At every session,
      the university's lawyer was present as an "independent
      observer", so independent that she felt at ease to be
      consistently communicating with the crown and the
      original complainants, and never Nidal or his defence
      attorney. The mediation session came to an end when
      the complainants decided to pursue the criminal
      charges. There are now six witnesses against him, and
      the pressure is quite clearly on.

      It is quite obvious that Nidal is being used. We are
      living in unfortunate times that opposition to
      Israel's policies of colonization and occupation are
      being termed the "new anti- Semitism", and Nidal Aloul
      is being used as exhibit A. Those involved are quite
      obviously testing and making an example of Hamas being
      on Canada's terror list, and trying to put it to use
      on an international student from Nablus, who would
      never, and has never, support such an organisation.
      The mediation session came to an end when the
      prosecution announced its decision to go pursue the
      criminal charges. Nidal's court date is set for April.


      WHAT DOES THIS POTENTIALLY ENTAIL FOR NIDAL?

      The damages here in Canada

      1) The damages incurred by this defamation occurred
      quickly. His landlord, a Jordanian who is currently
      applying for Canadian citizenship, told Nidal to get
      out of the apartment that he was renting to him,
      because he feared that it would jeopardize the
      application for his citizenship. Nidal was forced to
      move out of his apartment during the course of his
      winter semester, right before the university's exam
      period.

      2) Nidal is currently in the process of applying for
      his Canadian citizenship. While we cannot be certain
      as of yet whether this decision will be jeopardized,
      any form of affiliation (even from hearsay), to a
      group that was recently added to Canada's terror list
      is likely to affect the decision of Immigration and
      Citizenship Canada.

      3) If Nidal is found guilty, he risks the revocation
      of his student visa, and will potentially result in
      his deportation back to either Occupied Palestine, to
      his war torn home city of Nablus, or to Jordan. Nidal
      will not be able to complete the classes that he needs
      for his degree in Commerce.

      The damages abroad

      The potential damaged outside of Canada are much more
      serious. Nidal has both Jordanian citizenship and a
      Palestinian I.D. The incident was made public, and
      both the Jordanian and Israeli authorities are well
      known for their treatment against those they suspect
      are supportive of Palestinian politico religious
      militant groups. In both countries, many people have
      been and continue to be tortured into "confession". In
      Jordan, one is guilty until proven innocent, and
      imprisoned Palestinians are used as political leverage
      vis-à-vis Israel.

      In Israel and the Occupied Territories, thousands of
      Palestinians have been detained and imprisoned without
      charge or trial in what is called "administrative
      detention". Most are Nidal's age, and are there either
      due to who they know, who they are related to, or on
      the basis of mere suspicion. Torture in Israeli jails
      is a well known phenomenon, as are the other inhumane
      prison conditions that are proven by extensive
      documentation by Human Rights groups.

      WHO'S INVOLVED?

      Concordia University:

      In addition to the questionable practices of Concordia
      security on that particular day, there are a number of
      concerns that we face:

      1) Concordia University's lawyer has been at every
      single legal session and has quite overtly shown whose
      side she is on.

      2) Nidal was threatened on that day by Mr. Liftschitz,
      who threaten to harm his family in Nablus. Nidal filed
      a complaint that day. He has heard nothing more about
      it.

      3) When Nidal learned in January that there were six
      new "witnesses" against him, he requested the security
      tape which would prove that there were not even six
      people there when he said that he would be famous.
      After many attempts to get a hold of the tape, Nidal
      finally received a letter saying that the tape for
      March 11th had been erased, but that the tapes from
      the day before and day after are available if he
      wishes to have them. Which brings us to an interesting
      phenomenon: surely if Concordia security got so
      involved on that day to call the police to arrest a
      student, twice, based on an incident on Concordia
      premises, they would keep any evidence at their
      disposal. And what of the tapes from the day before
      and the day after? Not only do these tapes have no use
      to Nidal, why would they have erased the tape from
      that particular day, and not the other two? These
      questions have yet to be answered.

      Canadian Jewish Congress and Hillel Concordia:

      The presence of the CJC at all of the legal
      proceedings as an aid to those who are pressing the
      charges had led us to believe that the involvement of
      the CJC is real and serious. CJC is an organisation
      that unfortunately supports the occupation of
      Palestine and has direct ties to the Israeli
      government. Hillel Concordia's involvement is quite
      clear: the incident took place behind their table, and
      at least two of the complainants are members. As Nidal
      often communicates with some members of Hillel in a
      civil and friendly manner, they have told him that "we
      were in a meeting and we have decided to pursue this."
      He was also told by another member that "this isn't
      about you, Nidal. You are part of a racist group
      [meaning SPHR], everyone got away with what happened
      last year [meaning the forced cancellation of the
      speech by the former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
      Netanyahu]. Jews are tired of being intimidated on
      campus."

      CONCLUSION

      Every person that knows Nidal, including Hillel
      members, knows that he is neither a threatening nor a
      violent person by any means. Nidal is being quite
      clearly criminalized because he is a Palestinian who
      has been involved in a solidarity group that exposes
      Israeli human rights abuses on campus. Needless to
      say, this predicament has caused him an unprecedented
      amount of stress and humiliation.

      Nidal owes thousands of dollars in legal fees which he
      has so far been unable to pay. He is an international
      student, and is thus not able to work in Canada. His
      father is unable to send him money, as he has lost his
      business in Baghdad since the Anglo-American invasion.
      Your solidarity and help in this matter is very much
      necessary and greatly appreciated.

      Cheques can be made payable to: The Nidal Fund c/o
      SPHR- Montreal

      Please mail to: 1118 St- Cathrine West, Suite 405
      Montreal Quebec H3B - 1H5

      Tel: 514 905 5101 // Fax: 514 905-5102 // E-mail:
      sphr@...

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