CAIR CALLS FOR HUMANE TREATMENT FOR AL-ARIAN-Andrew Stelzer05/27/04
Earlier, this week, The national chair of the Council on American Islamic relations, or CAIR, traveled from Washington DC to visit Dr Sami Al-Arian and his Ã¢â‚¬â€œcodefendants, but was denied access to them, and could not see the conditions they have been held in. Today, Nihad Awad called for an end to what he called inhumane treatment of Dr Al-Arian and Sameeh Hammoudeh, who have still not been triedÃ¢â‚¬â€they are accused of giving financial aid to terrorist groups, including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
ACT Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have been receiving complaint from the familyÃ¢â‚¬Â¦we asked to be allowed to visit..Inhumane conditions,..
Awad pointed out that in America, people are innocent until proven guilty.
ACT-Awad Ã¢â‚¬Å“Remember these are pretrial detaineesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦(lists unfair conditions)
Dr Al-Arians lawyers have already requested many times that he be transferred to Hillsborough county prison; they are currently in Coleman state prison, and have been for the last 14 months. Dr Al-Arians wife said not having her husband close by is having negative effects on their family.
ACTÃ¢â‚¬â€Ms Al-Arian. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been a year and my children canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see him. I cannot believe he only gets 15 minutes a month..This is not the way they treat convicted felonsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦its discrimination..If my mother was not Muslim or Palestinian this would not be happeningÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬?
Ahmed Badir, the Tampa representative of CAIR, said the warnings being given by the bush administration for Americans to be on the lookout for Arab looking men, contributes to discrimination against middle eastern people, and this discrimination exists inside the criminal justice system as well. To illustrate the double standard, Badir pointed out the example of Dr. Robert Goldstein, who had drafted plans to blow up Islamic worship centers in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area and elsewhere in Florida.
ACT Ã¢â‚¬ËœThis same court..Treated Robert Goldstein differentÃ¢â‚¬Â¦..we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want any different treatment, just the same.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢
Awad from CAIR also said that prison conditions, including being kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, are unnecessary.
ACT-awad Ã¢â‚¬Å“The way heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been treated is designed to destroy him psychologically. The other prisoners rioted in his defense.
Ms Al-Arian last visited Dr Al-Arian last Monday
ACT Ã¢â‚¬ËœHe told me that every part of the movingÃ¢â‚¬Â¦its designed to humiliate the prisoners.
One reporter asked Ms-Arian what her message was for Americans who are afraid of terrorism and are hearing The Bush administrationsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ messages that a terrorist attack is immanent, which might lead them to think Al-Arian, who is accused of aiding terrorists, ought to be treated harshly.
ACT Ã¢â‚¬ËœTo tell you the truth, the government
And Pastor Warren Clack asked that the public demand humanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s treatment for Al-Arian and Hammoudeh; he says America should be setting a better example, especially in light of the recent evidence of abuse of prisoners in Iraq.
ACT Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is not just about being confined in prison, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s about the conditions. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s her in Florida, in our home state. Treating persons with humanityÃ¢â‚¬Â¦..not forced to strip naked, not forced to live without a blanket..Not forced to be in solitary confinement for years, where is the humanity for us as Americans?Ã¢â‚¬?
Judge McCowan has indicated many times he will not move AL-Arian or Hammoudeh to Tampa, because the Hillsborough facility is not secure. Their trial is not scheduled to start until at least January.