Wednesday, April 13, 2005

URGENT! Sign A Letter On Behalf Of Detained Teenagers!

Update: The collection of letters is being postponed right now. For more detailed information, see this post There are, however, many things you can still do (see the sidebar).

In late March, two 16 year-old girls, A and T -- were taken into immigration custody and accused of "terrorism" by the FBI. They are now being held in a detention facility under secret evidence to which they have no access, are being questioned repeatedly and threatened, and will be subjected to closed hearings.

We urgently need people to sign letters that will be presented to the immigration judge at a bond hearing for T set for this Thursday.

The easiest way to do this is to use the click and send set up at Loaded Mouth. It's so easy and goes right to the person it needs to!

If you're a little more persevering and want your letter to look good, download this model letter, which was prepared by DRUM, modify as you see fit, e-mail to kavitha AT drumnation DOT org. Please upload it back to yousendit so that more than 25 people can have access to it and post the link in the comments if you do so. If you're trying to get the letter and can't try this other link (it takes a bit more patience).

Here are the directions:


RE: Case of Detention of two 16-year olds accused of "terrorism"

In late March, two 16 year old young women were taken into immigration custody and accused of "terrorism" by the FBI, targeted by the US government based on anti-Islamic, anti-immigrant motives. They are now being held in a detention facility on secret evidence, are being questioned repeatedly and threatened, and will be subjected to closed hearings. More info on the case is below and attached.

WE ARE ASKING ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS TO URGENTLY SIGN THE ATTACHED MODEL LETTER OF SUPPORT which will be taken to one of the young women's Court hearings on Thursday (yes, tomorrow). We need the letters by 5 pm TODAY. Please share the letter with your organization as well as other community organizations and individuals, through personal contacts and list-servs. As background, you can find (1) the Editorial from April 12th's NY Times (2) a statement about the case pasted below, written by CAIR-NY (below).

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.

There's below on Direct Link

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

1. put the letter on your organization's letterhead, if possible

2. add your name or organization to the signature

3. edit the 2nd paragraph relating to your organization's particular concern, if you'd like.

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

5. Email the letter as an attachment to kavitha AT drumnation DOT org AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. We'll take care of forwarding it to the attorney who will bring the letters to Court.



CAIR-NY shares in the Muslim community's deep concern over the recent arrest and detention of two 16-year-old Muslim girls from New York City. Despite the continuing protests by immigrant and civil rights communities following 9/11, the Federal government's implementation of ethnic and religious profiling and its use of immigration proceedings to circumvent the constitutional protections of the criminal justice system persist.

Following 9/11, CAIR-NY and other civil rights organizations witnessed firsthand the government's targeting of Muslim men for investigations, false accusations, detentions, and deportations. Immigrant Muslim men were singled out for Special Registration, solely on the basis of their national origins, and thousands were deported from this country as a result of this program. Despite the vigorous surveillance and crack-down on our communities, however, the Federal government’s efforts have not resulted in any successful terrorism prosecutions, nor have they shown any evidence that these methods have made America
safer for anyone.

Today, it appears that the profiling of Muslim men has grown to include Muslim women and children. In this case, two minors are being linked to terrorism based at least in part on their interest in and observance of the Islamic religion. In one of the cases, a girl was questioned by FBI agents, at one point posing as youth counselors, without the advice or presence of an attorney. Neither of the girls has been formally charged with any crime, but both have been detained indefinitely in facilities far away from their homes and families. Their hearings are held in secret. Any substantive evidence against them has yet to be revealed.

Concerns have also been raised regarding the conditions in the girls' detention facility, including reports that their ability to observe religious practices has been restricted. Given the Federal government's previous track record and manner in which these two cases have been handled thus far, CAIR-NY and the Muslim community are justifiably outraged at the government's continuing disregard for the civil rights of American Muslims.

As a community-based civil rights organization, we sincerely hope that these cases do not develop into a new example of baseless religious profiling and unfair targeting of American Muslims, both of which have become disturbingly frequent in post-9/11 America.

Cases involving minors necessarily require heightened attention to their treatment during detention, their access to legal advice and social support services, and the need to come to a swift and just conclusion.

CAIR-NY calls upon all community organizations and elected officials to join us in closely monitoring the legal and humanitarian issues in both cases to see that justice is done for these young girls.

More background information can be found at Ron Brynaert's blog in this post: Two 16-year-old Girls Alone In Prison.


Ron Brynaert

Saurav Sarkar



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big jon said...

Nice thanks for sharing with us
Sign Letters