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Jaoudat Abouazza update
by Julia Steinberger
Email: julias (nospam) mit.edu
Phone: (617) 576 2688
Address: 155 Cherry St. #2 Cambridge Massachusetts
17 Jun 2002
This is an update on the case of Jaoudat Abouazza,
a Palestinian activist jailed since May 30.
The news is not good: he was prevented from appearing
at his own court hearing, and was badly tortured over the
Jaoudat's prison address is at the end of the article.
What you can do:
==>If you are a Cambridge resident, please please come
testify at the City Council meeting tonight, City Hall
at 5:30 PM. They are considering making Cambridge a
sanctuary city against the Patriot Act.
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A CITIZEN TO TESTIFY.
WHEN: 5:30 PM Tonight
WHERE: Cambridge City Hall between Central and Havard
on Mass Ave (Close to Central Square)
==> Write to Jaoudat. He is very depressed and afraid. His English
is not great, and they are treating him very roughly.
==> Call your representatives, statewide and national.
Write to the prison officials. The addresses are at
the end of this email.
==> Join the Defense Committee
What you can't do: nothing. This man is being held without
charges and tortured in Massachusetts jail, paid for with
your tax dollars, with the complicity of your elected officials.
Are you mad enough yet?
------- Forwarded Message
6/17 EMERGENCY DEFENSE COMMITTEE MEETING TO STOP THE BRUTAL
ATTACKS AGAINST DETAINED PALESTINIAN ACTIVIST JAOUDAT ABOUAZZA
284 Amory St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
Stop the illegal detention and brutalization of Palestinian
Activist Jaoudat Abouazza!
Please come to the emergency Defense Committee meeting at
6 tomorrow night, Monday 6/17 to plan immediate action to
safeguard Jaoudat's safety and demand his immediate release.
This evening, Sunday June 16, two members of the Jaoudat
Abouazza Defense Committee were able to see Jaoudat in INS
custody in the Bristol County Correctional Facility in North
Dartmouth, MASS. They learned that at 10:00 AM Sunday
morning, prison officials forcibly removed 4 molars from
Jaoudat's mouth entirely without novacaine or any other
anesthetic. This constitutes midaeval torture, with unknown
permanent damage or effects on Jaoudat's use of his mouth
and jaw. This followed a week in which prison officials,
guards and stooges engaged in other forms of brutality and
torture against Jaoudat, including punching, solitary
confinement, threats and racist epithets. FBI agents have
continued to harrass and intimidate him and they showed him
a defense committee leaflet and threw him into an isolation
cell, telling him they could keep him there as long as they
On the evening of May 30, Abouazza was stopped by the
Cambridge police on the pretext of a minor traffic
violation. Without being charged with a crime or read his
rights by the arresting officers, he was handcuffed and
brought to the Cambridge police station. Within hours,
Jaoudat would find himself in jail being interrogated by the
FBI for suspicion of "terrorism."
The evidence? He was Palestinian and in possession of
leaflets calling for the protest of the Israeli Independence
Day Festival on June 9th in Boston.
"The government's shameful policy of racial profiling is now
rapidly expanding to include political profiling," said Carl
Messineo, a lawyer with the Partnership for Civil Justice
and a member of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Steering Committee. "This
was always the true goal of the attack on civil rights
engineered by John Ashcroft: to stifle dissent by trying to
intimidate people from speaking out against injustice.
"On June 29, thousands will turn out at the FBI's Washington
headquarters to show they won't be intimidated by these
tactics," Messineo continued. "For every one person they
place into administrative detention, as they have done to
Abouazza, there will be scores who will take to the streets.
It is the mass mobilization of the people that will turn
back this extremist and repressive government program."
Jaoudat is still being detained. Initial motions by his
lawyer for a bail hearing and an official arraignment on the
charges of his original arrest were circumvented in a
pattern now familiar in the detention of Arabs and Muslims
across the nation after September 11. Held over the weekend
in jail, he was interrogated more than seven times by the
FBI _ sometimes awakened at 1:00 a.m. for questioning.
Although he had already obtained a lawyer, she was present
at none of these proceedings. By the time of his arraignment
in court on the Monday following, the INS had already filed
a detainer. Jaoudat was moved to an INS detention facility
in the early hours of the morning on Tuesday, June 4.
Incredibly, at Abouazza's pre-trial hearing on June 12, he
was found in default for failure to appear at his pre-trial
hearing, after the efforts of his attorney Emily Karstetter
to secure his transfer to the courtroom were rejected by the
Jaoudat was of course unable to appear because he remains in
INS detention. Efforts by his lawyer to either secure his
transfer to the courtroom or arrange for videoconferencing,
which the facility Jaoudat is being held in is equipped for,
were both denied. The court found Jaoudat in default and
issued a warrant for his arrest.
Expanded powers of domestic surveillance put into place in
the last week of May have made it easier to target political
dissidents. The Justice Department and the FBI appear to
have begun a new wave of arrests, specifically targeting
Palestinian political activists. The case of a Palestinian
student organizer in Chicago and the case of Jaoudat
Abouazza here in Boston are two prominent examples. Both
occur in the context of increasingly vocal criticism of
Israel, and U.S. support for Israeli policies, in which Arab
and Muslim immigrants have played a significant role. On
April 20, 100,000 people marched on Washington to protest
Bush's "war on terrorism." The large presence of Palestinian
activists made itself felt across the country.
In Boston, Abouazza has been a leading activist in the
Palestinian struggle. His photograph appeared in the Boston
Globe as one of the leaders in a local march against the
Israeli occupation on April 6th that drew close to 2,000
activists--the largest to date in Boston. He has
participated in weekly protest vigils in front of the
Israeli Consulate. Several of those protests have come under
heavy surveillance by the Boston police, who have repeatedly
photographed demonstrators and their license plates.
His arrest on May 30 occurred a little more than a week
before a major protest against the Israel Day Festival
planned for June 9th in which Abouazza has been a key
organizer. Flyers for the protest which were found in his
car were cited by the prosecutor in court as a reason to
continue holding him.
The increasing criminalization of dissent in the United
States in the aftermath of September 11th endangers the
rights of all of us, citizens and immigrants alike. We urge
everyone who is concerned for fundamental human rights to
act now in defense of Jaoudat Abouazza.
We urge people to attend the meeting Monday night to
plan immediate action to safeguard Jaoudat's safety and
confront the INS, and to SEND LETTERS OF PROTEST to
USINS District Director Steven J. Farquharson
Room 1700, JFK Federal Building
Boston, MA 02203,
with copies to:
Commissioner James W. Ziglar
Immigration and Naturalization Service
425 I Street, NW
Washington, DC 20536
Jaoudat Abouazza Defense Committee
c/o International A.N.S.W.E.R.
(Act Now to Stop War and End Racism)
31 Germania Street
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
abouazzadefense (at) yahoo.com
Please also send copies of your letters to Jaoudat himself,
and write to Jaoudat, at the address below:
Bristol County Jail and House of Correction (North
400 Faunce Corner Road
North Dartmouth, MA 02747
(Unit and ID number should be written on the lower left of the
------- End of Forwarded Message