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News ::
Amer Jubran's deportation hearing - TODAY - JFK Federal Building (english)
24 Jul 2003
Modified: 02 Aug 2003
Be at the JFK Federal Building at noon. The trial starts at 1.

On the morning of November 4, 2002, well-known Palestinian activist Amer Jubran was arrested at his home in Cumberland, Rhode Island. Only two days earlier, Amer had lead the first demonstration organized by the New England Committee to Defend Palestine, a group which he had helped to create. Amerís arrest was carried out by both FBI and INS agents, who burst in with no warrant, threatened him illegally, and took over $400-óthe donations collected during the NECDPís first rally-ófrom an envelope on his dining room table.

At the station, agents attempted to interrogate Amer about his political activities in New England, arrested him when he insisted on his right to have a lawyer present, and forced him to put his fingerprints on a false confession when he refused to sign it. Although the INS threatened to keep Amer in jail indefinitely, a concerted legal campaign, combined with world-wide pressure and local political action, forced them to release Amer on minimum bail 17 days later. Amer is a permanent Green Card holder with no criminal record whatsoever.

Today, after eight months of letters, faxes, phone calls, and office visits, the INS (now called the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is still trying to have Amer deported. The trial is being held at the JFK Federal Building, and we will be there at noon.

The BICE, which originally accused Amer of several serious violations, has dropped all charges except the claim that two forms certifying Amerís marriage were filled out on different dates. During the last preliminary hearing, the immigration judge expressed his surprise at the prosecutionís lack of witnesses and the absence of any substantial evidence to support the government's case for deportation. The case, though, proceeds forward.

Although the government has repeatedly claimed that this case is not political, FBI agents have harrassed and intimidated Mr. Jubranís witness pool in a last-ditch effort to silence those who will testify on his behalf. Amerís ex-wife, the defenseís main witness, has repeatedly been questioned by FBI and Homeland Security agents in South Carolina, and her sister was taken from her home in Rhode Island during the early morning and held for over nine hours while she was interrogated about her sisterís relationship with Amer and the testimony that she might give. Last night, as members of the Defense Committee were making signs to show at the trial, word came in that a relative of another member of the witness pool was being interrogated.

The slight irregularity of Amer's marriage forms entitles the prosecution to what, in legal language, is called 'presumption of fraud', which means that the burden of proof is on the defendant (a situation unheard of in civil and criminal courts.) This makes witness intimidation an even more significant attack.

We have tried several times to post stories about this, but they haven't gone through--hence the late notice. This is an extremely serious case, and not just for Amer. Please join us at the Federal Building if you can.

--The AJDC
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