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Letter from Ahmed Bensouda
by Friend of Ahmed
Email: julias (nospam) mit.edu
Phone: 617 576 2688
Address: 155 Cherry St. #2, Cambridge MA
25 Jun 2002
Letter from Ahmed Bensouda, thanking his supporters
for his release from jail on bond last Friday.
I am out on bond, after 3 weeks of my life that I will never forget,
and I have you all to thank.
At every stage of my detainment, I was aware of people mobilizing on
my behalf - the pressure on the courts and federal authorities through
demos, media coverage, and even constant phone-calls to the jails and
detainment centers where I was held.
With my transfer to the Du Page County INS facility, I sensed that the
somewhat improved conditions of my detainment halfway through the
whole ordeal were due to the work you were doing outside. But I never
understood the extent of those efforts until I saw the impact they had
on my bond hearing this past Friday, June 21st. The relentlessness
of the Friends of Ahmed campaign forced the government and
court system a full step back from the policies of political and
racial repression that they have pursued with even greater impunity
The state didn't just suddenly decide to be nice. It felt popular
force breathing down its neck, at long last holding the system
accountable for its actions. Democracy is not just for the powerful.
I thank you. But the best thanks I could give you all is to help
continue the work you started.
Many detainees, whether they're being held for racial or political
reasons, don't even know that people like you exist. I met dozens of
individuals and heard their stories while I was on the inside. Alone,
helpless, humiliated and intimidated, lives and loved ones in ruins
because of their confinement, they are facing forces that seem
They have to know that communities like ours all across this land have
the resources and energy to provide them with support and exposure
needed to even the tables and ensure they are treated with dignity.
e need a movement that is dedicated to solidarity with the victims of
these racist policies, and committed to serious action on their
behalf. A national response/solidarity network/movement for detainees
that does not apologize or make excuses for the system, but instead
holds it accountable for its actions through popular resistance. A
movement that reaches out to not just Arab and Muslim detainees, but
other detainees of color who have been subjected to the
white-supremacist policies of the federal government and its
I propose that we take on this challengs and enter into a serious
discussion about how to organize ourselves both locally and nationally
for this effort.
For those who haven't already, please join the "Friends of Ahmed"
mailing list (www.friendsofahmed.org); we can change the name of
the list later once we decide where to go from here.
I would like to leave you with a case that I came across at Dupage
County Jail. Two Canadian nationals of Somali origin have been
detained for the past four weeks for working as taxi drivers without
US work permits. They were told accept immediate deportation without
legal representation, but have been since left in jail with no
indication of when they would be deported. They were set bond at
$25,000 each, but were refused the right to pay it under the guise
that they would be deported soon. In the meantime, they have been
practically begging the Canadian Consulate to communicate with the INS
and ar! range their quick departure. However, the Canadian Consul has
instead been threatening to investigate them because they are
Arab-Muslim in US custody.
After I was released on Friday, Hadeel and I visited with them and
they have asked us to call the Canadian Consul and the INS and demand
that they expedite their cases.
The number for the Canadian Consul is 312-616-1860. Their names are
Mohammad Hassan Noor and Yasin-Yusef Mohammad. We have encouraged them
to write statements that we can present to supporters. We ask that you
call and express your outrage at the INS and Canadian Consul ASAP.
Much love and thanks.