Thursday, May 12, 2005

Freedom For T.

(Apologies to all for being late to report this...)

Susanhbu at The Booman Tribune (and crossposted at Daily Kos), "One 16-year-old girl detainee "quietly" released":

"The U.S. government has dropped its cases against two 16-year-old "would-be suicide bombers," whose plight has been remarkably championed by Edkra and others.

Key: The girl from Guinea has returned to high school. The Bangladeshi girl remains in custody and faces deportation along with her parents.

Reports Democracy Now! and just a couple other news sources:

In New York a 16-year-old girl -- who the government accused of being a would-be suicide bomber -- has returned to her high school in East Harlem. Six weeks ago federal officials detained two 16-year-old girls - one from Guinea and one from Bangladesh. At the time the government claimed they were a "imminent threat to the security of the United States." ...

DN! continues:

For six weeks the government said little about their detentions despite a public outcry.

The case was cloaked in secrecy. Hearings were closed to the public. FBI comments were sealed. And attorneys were barred from disclosing government information.

But it now appears the government had no case at all and that the girls posed no threat.

The New York Times reports the government released the girl from Guinea and she returned to school on Friday.

Meanwhile the Bangladeshi girl remains in detention - but for immigration reasons, not national security. An immigration judge has ordered her and her parents to be deported.

Read the rest at BooTrib.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Press Release: FBI, Immigration Officials Ruining Mother's Day

May 6, 2005
For Immediate Release
Contact: Saurav Sarkar, Media Coordinator, 516-423-1896, sauravsarkar2000 AT yahoo DOT com.

FBI, Immigration Officials Ruining Mother’s Day
Groups and Individuals Call For Public Support For Loved Ones of Teenagers

Unlike countless other mothers who will be celebrated and honored this Sunday, one Guinean mother and one Bangladeshi mother will be among hundreds of thousands who face the financial, emotional, and legal struggle to keep their families intact in the face of deportation. These two mothers’ 16-year old daughters have faced unsubstantiated claims of being “suicide bombers.” The FBI and Department of Homeland Security are misusing the immigration system to conduct what are essentially criminal investigations, thereby denying basic due process rights to these two minors like free legal assistance and access to the charges and evidence against them. The government has smeared the reputation of these two daughters—known here as “A.” and “T.” for reasons of safety and privacy—despite that an FBI official told The New York Daily News that, "Nobody here believes they are wanna-be suicide bombers." T. remains imprisoned, and both A. and T. may be forced to leave the U.S., where they have lived since infancy.

Under the leadership of Secretary Michael Chertoff, the Department of Homeland Securityis working to ensure that A. and T. are included among the almost 1.5 million immigrants whom the government has forced to leave since 1996—regardless of their family, social, and economic ties to the United States. Additionally, it appears that these two teenagers have been the subject of the same type of discrimination that has targeted so many immigrants on the basis of their religion and national origin since 9/11.. As a result, the mothers of A. and T. have mourned the many weeks their daughters have been in Berks County Prison, hundreds of miles away, where T. continues to be jailed.

Berks has been described as “too institutional and prisonlike” for unaccompanied minors by a U.S. Government official in U.S. News and World Report. “The prison lost its federal contract to care for unaccompanied immigrant minors last year, after newspaper articles and a report by Amnesty International criticized the conditions as too punitive for young asylum-seekers who entered the United States without parents,” according to the New York Times.

T.’s mother, breaking into tears, told the New York Times, "I always thought that this country is better for my children, but now...I just want my daughter. Please, can you help me?" She and her loved ones face an enormous emotional, legal, and financial challenge.

There's below on "Direct Link"
She and her husband must raise money for housing, having given up their apartment out of fear of surveillance or other threats to their safety. Food and transportation money and support for their three other children are other necessities. A.’s mother is also struggling to support herself and her other children; her husband has also jailed on immigration charges, and his income is lost. She needs to pay her daughter’s and husband’s legal fees, and there may be a need to purchase plane tickets in the future if either her husband or daughter are forced to accept “voluntary departure.” Collectively, the legal fees, housing, transportation, food, and basic needs of the two families will amount to well over $10,000 over the next few months.

This mother’s day you can help ease the pain and suffering of these two mothers, their daughters, and their families; you can send a tax-exempt donation online at or mail checks written to:

Emergency Family Fund / CAIR NYc/o 9-11 relief program / Adem Carroll, ICNA166-26 89th AvenueJamaica, NY, 11432

If you would like to direct your contribution to A and T and their families, please write that on the memo of your check. Any excess donations will be used for some of the countless other detainee families facing similar circumstances.

This call for donations is part of efforts by a group of organizations and individuals in New York, Pennsylvania, California, and other areas to bring attention to A. and T.’s situation. Included among these organizations are: Alliance of South Asians Taking Action; Blue Triangle Network; Desis Rising Up & Moving; Families For Freedom; International Socialist Organization; Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA Relief); New Immigrant Community Empowerment; New York Immigration Coalition; Not In Our Name / NYC; and Progressive Bengali Network. For more information on the work of these groups on this campaign and other actions they are undertaking to require accountability from immigration officials and the FBI, please visit"

DRUM: May 11 Vigil Cancelled Due to Behind The Scenes Legal Developments

Below is an announcement that just went from Desis Rising Up & Moving:

The vigil planned for May 11th in York, PA has been CANCELLED, as the hearing has been CANCELLED due to behind the scenes legal developments. Please get the word out!

Another update: we all collected 30 letters of support from organizations across the country, 150 letters of support from individuals, and 300 signatures (mostly youth!) on petitions. Congrats to all!

This is not likely the end of this battle...for now, we can all put our energy into raising funds for the families. You can send a tax-exempt donation online at or mail checks written to:

Emergency Family Fund / CAIR NY
c/o 9-11 relief program / Adem Carroll, ICNA
166-26 89th Avenue
Jamaica, NY, 11432

If you would like to direct your contribution to A and T and their families, please write that on the memo of your check. Any excess donations will be used for some of the countless other detainee families facing similar circumstances.

In solidarity,
DRUM--Desis Rising Up and Moving

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Excerpt from Ted Rall article

Here's an excerpt from the 4/26/05 Ted Rall article on A. and T. You can read the whole thing here.

Without a warrant, NYPD detectives and federal agents burst into the girl's home--no wonder they don't have time to look for Osama!--where they "searched her belongings and confiscated her computer and the essays that she had written as part of a home schooling program," say her family. "One essay concerned suicide...[that] asserted that suicide is against Islamic law." The family is Bangladeshi. They are Muslim. That, coupled with the mere mention of suicide bombing in her essay, was enough to put the fuzz on high alert.

Although she is conservative and devout, the girl and her parents vigorously deny that she is an Islamist extremist (not that such opinions are illegal), but this is post-9/11 America and post-9/11 America is out of its mind.

Based solely on an essay written by one of the two, the FBI says both girls are "an imminent threat to the security of the United States based upon evidence that they plan to become suicide bombers." But the feds admit that they have no evidence to back their suspicions. Nothing.

"There are doubts about these claims, and no evidence has been found that such a plot was in the works," one Bush Administration official admitted to the Times. "The arrests took place after authorities decided it would be better to lock up the girls than wait and see if they decided to become terrorists," another told the New York Post. The same logic could be used to justify locking up any Muslim, or anyone at all. Heck, maybe that's the idea...

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Attention LA (and Web) Radio Listeners!

Subhash Kateel from Families For Freedom will be speaking with Michael Slate of KPFK (the Los Angeles Pacifica Affiliate) about A. and T.'s situation today and the broader context of attacks on immigrants. He's supposed to be on between 5:15 and 5:30 California time, so you may want to tune in earlier to make sure you catch him. If you're not in LA, you can listen live on the KPFK website. I'll do what I can to get some audio of it up on the Detainment Blog at some point. Here's more information about Michael Slate's and his radio show.

Update: Michael Slate was kind enough to give us permission to reproduce the interview. You can listen to it on the Indymedia website here.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Vigil Update For Philadelphia Folks

For those of you who may be coming from Philadelphia to the May 11 Vigil at York, Pennsylvania, here's some contact information for your area:

SAVE THE DATE -- 5/11 -- GET ON THE BUS: As of now, the Bangladeshi woman's bond hearing is scheduled for WEDS. MAY 11th at York Courthouse. CAIR-Philadelphia office is getting a bus and mobilizing community members to support and put further pressure! Contact Adeeba at CAIR-Phila (215) 592-0509, aalzaman AT gmail DOT com to reserve seats now!