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News ::
Logan 19 Hearing, Friday 10/4, Pack the courtroom! (english)
02 Oct 2002
Logan 19 Hearing, Friday 10/4, Pack the courtroom!
Defend Logan Immigrant Worker on Trial--
Pack the courtroom!

Friday, October 4, 2:00 p.m.
Boston Federal Courthouse, Fan Pier



***

On Friday, October 4, at 2:00 p.m., one of the Logan airport workers arrested in February, a Haitian immigrant, will have his final, pre-trial hearing. Please be there and show your solidarity with immigrant workers under attack.

**If you're planning to be at the anti-Bush demonstration, the courthouse is a little more than a block away from the meeting point on the Old Northern Avenue Bridge.**

(Directions to the courthouse: Take the Red Line to South Station; follow Atlantic Ave. to pedestrian bridge across Fort Point Channel. The courthouse is across the water on
Fan Pier.)

For more information, contact the Logan 19 Defense Committee: (617)
227-7335.

________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________

BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON ARRESTS OF
20 LOGAN AIRPORT WORKERS

Prepared by Logan 19 Defense Committee
September 5, 2002


On February 27 and the days following, 20 immigrant workers at Logan International Airport were arrested in a series of early morning raids. Most were cleaning workers paid poverty wages; one woman was eight months pregnant. The central allegation against all of them was that they had given false information on their employment applications in order to obtain jobs.

Taken off to jail in handcuffs and leg shackles by heavily armed police, the Logan workers spent more than a week in detention awaiting bail hearings. When they were ultimately released, the federal magistrate imposed a range of highly restrictive conditions on most of the defendants, including electronic monitoring, living in third-party custody, and the obligation to report to pre-trial services as often as three times per week in the middle of the day.

Charges were later dropped against one of the 20 workers, apparently due to mistaken identity. The remaining 19 have been subjected to full federal prosecution.

U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan, who is in charge of prosecuting the cases, has made it clear that he intends to make an example of the defendants in order, in his words, "to send a message" to the immigrant community. He has explicitly stated that his policy in this case is "to charge people regardless of the offense for the highest penalty possible." In practice, this means that he is prosecuting infractions that would ordinarily make the defendants liable to fines or termination of employment as felony offenses under sections of the U.S. Federal Code carrying penalties of up to 10 years in federal prison. A conviction under any of these charges would further make the defendants liable to deportation.

Attorney Sullivan has also made it clear that none of the defendants is suspected of connection with the events of September 11 or any other criminal activity. Seven of the workers were not even employed at Logan at the time of their arrest. A worker from Tanzania, for example, had worked at Logan for four weeks a full year before the airport sweep. In the meantime, he had normalized his immigration status and was a student in college.

A worker from Honduras, who was pregnant at the time of her arrest and has since given birth, had worked at Logan for only three weeks. She had come to the US as refugee after hurricanes devastated her country. She had Temporary Protective Status and a work permit.

In several other places around the country (San Francisco, Utah) where airport sweeps took place — part of what has come to be known as "Operation Tarmac" — charges were soon dropped in the face of public outcry. Here in Boston, Attorney Sullivan has continually reaffirmed his resolve to prosecute these cases to the end. From the start, he has refused to negotiate with any of the defense lawyers. He at first rebuffed all attempts by community leaders to communicate their views on the prosecution. He finally agreed to a meeting only after a delegation with representatives of more than a dozen organizations insisted on coming to his office to present close to 1500 petition signatures from Massachusetts residents demanding that the charges be dropped. At
that time, he made it clear that he had no concern whatsoever for the consequences of
prosecution.

The pretrial conditions imposed at the time of their release have made it impossible for several of the defendants to find or keep employment. Some are still living under ‘house arrest’ as they await trial. Both they and their families face rapidly worsening economic hardships as their capacity to meet even the most basic expenses grows precarious.

Under these circumstances, three of the defendants have already been pressured into changing their pleas to "guilty." In the case of a worker from Colombia, it was clear from his sentencing on August 15 that he had changed his plea in the hope of gaining an immediate voluntary departure from the United States. Required to remain physically in third-party custody under electronic monitoring since March, he had been unable to support himself.

Now that the cases will be coming to trial, the pressure on the remaining defendants to enter guilty pleas to avoid stiffer sentences after trial, or for the sheer economic necessity of getting their trials finished quickly, has grown extreme.

For more information, or to become involved in the campaign to have the charges dropped, please contact

The Logan 19 Defense Committee
c/o National Lawyers’ Guild
14 Beacon St., Suite 407
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 227-7335

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