ADC Press Release:
ADC Shocked that FBI Continues to Jail Nasser Ahmed on Secret Evidence Merely in Order to Silence his Views Washington D.C., Nov. 12 — The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the nation‘s largest Arab-American grassroots organization, is shocked by reports that the F.B.I. continues to hold Nasser Ahmed, an Egyptian immigrant who has been jailed for more than three years on without charge and on the basis of secret evidence, because his release would “improve his credibility among Arabs” and people “would be more inclined to listen to him.” Thus a man remains in jail in the United States simply in order to prevent him from expressing his views.
On July 30, following 3 days of hearings on the “secret” evidence that was long-withheld from Ahmed and his attorneys, an immigration judge ruled that Ahmed should not be deported and ordered his release. Since Ahmed was first arrested in 1996, the government has never charged him with any crime. It sought his deportation based on his alleged “association with a known terrorist organization,” which it has never named. The “evidence” supporting this allegation was withheld from Ahmed and his attorneys, and for years he languished in solitary confinement without charge and without the opportunity to challenge the evidence against him. Ahmed says that while he was working as a court-appointed translator in the Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman trial, the FBI and INS tried to recruit him. He says that they threatened him and his family with deportation if he did not cooperate with them. He refused and was subsequently arrested.
This case once again demonstrates that secret evidence is generally synonymous with weak evidence, and that many of the cases, almost all of which target Arab-Americans, are politically motivated and designed to stifle the views of individuals who do not agree with policies of the US government. “His prominence in the community will increase if he is released,” an unnamed F.B.I. agent who gave secret testimony against Ahmed told the judge. “He would be more well known, lending to his credibility in the community, both inside the United States and outside the United States.” Thus it would appear that, even though judges have ruled that the charges against Ahmed are trumped-up and ordered his release, he continues to be incarcerated simply because the government fears that he would gain a wide audience for his views if released.
As in the recent cases of Imad Hamad and Hany Kiarledeen, the arbitrary and abusive nature of secret evidence has again been exposed.
Legislation ending this practice, HR 2121, “The Secret Evidence Repeal Act” must be passed. The latest revelations about the real reasons behind the jailing of Nasser Ahmed only add further evidence that secret evidence is being routinely used against innocent people, almost all of Arab origin, and that underlying the practice is a desire to suppress the political opinions of some people in the Arab-American community.
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ADC Press Release: