Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Teenege Detentions- Urgent Action Needed

Two teenage Muslim girls were arrested and detained by the Feds for alleged ties to terrorism. Both attended school here in the NYC area and both are being held without formal charges.

Here is a model letter of support for use by organizations or individuals (with an emphasis on organizations at this point, i think). Please share it with your organization and as many other organizations that you can think of -- through personal contacts/e-mails and list-servs. As background (if you distribute the letter widely) I am (1) attaching the Letter to the Editor from April 12th's NY Times and (2) pasting a statement about the case below written by CAIR-NY.

The purpose of the letter is to communicate the following to the Court: public and community support, a sense that the public is watching, solidarity with the family and detained girls, clear demands, and attention to larger legal & policy concerns, etc.

To facilitate sending the letter, here's what to do:

1. put the letter on your organization's letterhead

2. add your name or organization to the signature

3. edit the paragraph relating to your organization's particular concern, if you'd like.

4. there is a suggestion to minimize politically radical language as in at least one case, ICE has denied relief based on "anti-establishment" language in letters of support

5. Only if you know the family or are in a position to honestly comment on the detained young women from personal experience, add some background about yourself, how you know the family and your relationship with them. Describe the good things they had done in the community prior to being detained and positive things about them that you have read in media reports. Describe the impact on the family due to detention.

6. Email the letter as an attachment to AS SOON AS YOU GET THIS E-MAIL if POSSIBLE. We'll take care of forwarding it to the attorney who will bring the letters to Court.


Model letter of support

*****Insert your Letterhead***** April 12, 2005 Dear Judge Sease, We write to you today as a community organization/individual to urge the Court to release and uphold the civil and human rights of two sixteen year old young women, Tashnuba and Adama (last names withheld to protect privacy). Both of these women belong with the community and families that love them. They do not belong in detention being held on secret evidence and being tried in a secret hearing. (each org or individual to fill-in with their specific details) Our organization has been committed to advocating for the rights of immigrants for five years and is particularly concerned with governmental targeting of South Asians, Muslims and Arabs since the September 11th tragedy. We believe this case highlights the unique and manipulative use of a fear of “terrorism” to detain and deport immigrants across the United States without regard to due process or civil and human rights, as documented by the report of the Office of Inspector General released in 2004. In particular, we write today because we are alarmed by several violations of the rights of Tashnuba and Adama. Namely, we are severely troubled by: • the government’s discriminatory and systematic targeting of these two young girls based on their faith; • the government’s use of “secret evidence,” which is inherently unreliable, unfair, and unconstitutional, because it denies the young women a meaningful opportunity to challenge the evidence against them; • the use of detention to isolate and punish the girls; • the reporting of young people by high school administrations based on their political views, exacerbating a culture of widespread fear and false accusations within the United States; • the FBI’s continued, illegal questioning of at least one of the girls, Tashnuba, without the presence of legal counsel • the FBI’s threats to at least one of the girls, Tashnuba, to deport her parents and send her siblings to foster care if she does not admit to their allegations which would cast serious doubt as to the validity of any admission of guilt if it were to occur; • the closing of the hearings to the press and public, which is unwarranted by the current evidence and runs counter to the spirit of a democratic society; • the seeming absence of any purpose for the continued detention of the girls, who do not pose a flight risk or a danger to the public. In the interests of justice, we ask that Your Honor release Tashnuba and Adama to their families as soon as possible, make public the evidence against them, open the hearings, and exercise all possible discretion to interrupt the discriminatory, outrageous assault on the basic human rights and dignity of two young women. Sincerely, Name of Organization/Individual

Thank you Sukaynah for providing this info.


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