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Boston-Area Palestinian Activist Detained (english)
by Dan Keshet
Email: dkesh, channel1, com
07 Nov 2002
Modified: 25 Nov 2002
At around 8 AM on Monday, November 4, one of the foremost activists
in the Boston Palestinian community, Amer Jubran, was taken into
custody at his Cumberland, Rhode Island home by agents of the Federal
Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Immigration and Naturalization
He was transferred to an INS holding facility at the
Adult Correctional Institution in Cranston, Rhode Island later that
day, where he is being held while the INS investigates what they call
'violations of INS statutes', according to his friend and fellow
political organizer Steve Kirschbaum.
Kirschbaum and other friends of Jubran's visited him at the
Cranston facilities on Thursday, November 7. Together, they have
provided this composite account of the events of November 4, as told
by Jubran. At 8 AM, as Jubran was in the shower, four agents of the
FBI and INS arrived at his door. They didn't identify themselves
properly, and Jubran was only able to catch the name of one agent,
agent Dave Atkins of the INS. They did not read him his rights and
they attempted to search the house without a warrant. They told him he
was wanted for questioning and that he would be returned at noon. From
there, they took him to INS facilities in Providence for processing.
He was interrogated by the FBI there, who asked him questions about
his political organizing, before he refused to continue without a
lawyer. He was allowed one phone call, with which he called
Kirschbaum. Later that day, he was transferred to the Cranston prison,
where the INS rents cells.
Jubran's friends emphatically feel that the detention is for
political reasons. Jubran is in the country on a green card, and,
according to his friends, meticulously files his immigration papers
because he feels that it is important for him, as a politically active
person, to make sure to give no pretense which could be used to attack
him. Friend George Collins said that when he first heard about
Jubran's arrest, he thought "Now is the time that, for whatever
reason, they've decided to go after him."
Collins also says that Jubran's detention reminds him of his 2001
arrest. In that incident, on June 10, 2001, he was arrested by the
Brookline Police at a protest of an Israeli Independence Day
celebration, after a celebration attendant accused Jubran of kicking
him. The charges were dropped when the only evidence forthcoming was
exculpatory. A later investigation by the American Civil Liberties
Union (ACLU) revealed that during the day, the Brookline Police took
close-cropped head shots of all of the sixty or so protesters
(including one nine-month-old), and that this information was shared
with both the FBI and the Israeli consulate. Many Palestinian
activists say law enforcement agencies continued to use similar
tactics at rallies.
Jubran is a founding member of the New England Committee to Defend
Palestine (NECDP). Two days prior to his arrest, the NECDP held
its inaugural event, a march and rally in downtown Boston attended by
approximately one hundred people. He was also a key organizer in two
of the largest Palestinian events in recent Boston history, both
organized by the Act Now to
Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) coalition. (Many members of the
NECDP worked in conjunction with ANSWER on Palestinian issues prior to
the NECDP's formation.) The first of these events was an April 6, 2002
rally in downtown Boston which drew approximately 1,500 people, mainly
Arabs. The rally happened as the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF),
Israel's army, intensified its occupation of many towns in the West
Bank. The West Bank and the Gaza Strip have been occupied by the IDF
since 1967, when they were conquered in the Six Days' War between
Israel and a coalition of Arab states. On June 9, 2002, Jubran helped
organize another protest of an Israeli Independence Day celebration.
Approximately three hundred people attended that protest, including a
group of Naturei Karta anti-Zionist religious Jews, opposed to the
existence of a Jewish state. Jubran also attended a 75,000-person
rally on Palestinian issues in Washington, D.C. on April 20. In
addition to being an organizer, he is a frequent public speaker,
making guest lectures about Palestine at many area colleges, including
MIT, Northeastern, and Emerson.
In Jubran's time as an activist, he has impressed many people with
his dedication and humbleness. Esther Posner, a student at Emerson
College, a friend of Jubran's and member of the NECDP, met Jubran at
an organizing meeting for a rally against discrimination after
September 11. He soon became "like a part of my family," she says. "He
is a rock of inspiration for many of us" and "one of the greatest
teachers I've ever had." She finds it particularly ironic that last
week, the President of Emerson college signed onto
(pdf) condemning intimidation of Zionists on campus. Really, she
says, "it's not safe to be in this country unless your white. It's not
safe if you're an Arab." Collins, also an NECDP member, describes
Jubran as "one of the warmest and most genuine people" he's ever met.
"I love the man like a brother...He has a real clarity about his
[political] positions that makes it a joy to work with him."
Jubran is not the only Palestinian activist to have run-ins with
law enforcement officials. On May 30, his friend and fellow
Palestinian activist, Jaoudat Abouazza, a Canadian citizen, was
arrested in Harvard Square on traffic violations. He was eventually
transferred to INS custody and spent a total of
forty-one days inside various Massachusetts prisons before being
granted voluntary departure to his home in Montreal, Canada. Abouazza
has detailed many complaints about his treatment while he was
detained, most dramatically that four of his teeth were removed from
his mouth against his wishes and without proper procedures while he
was in the Bristol County jail. These charges have been denied by the
offices of Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, who charged that
Abouazza was the "pawn of some organization", most likely referring to
ANSWER. In a July interview, the sheriff's office said that only one
tooth of Abouazza's was removed and that it was done under proper
procedures with the proper release forms.
Jubran was one of the leading figures in the effort to get Abouazza
out of jail, frequently visiting him and organizing protests of
Abouazza's detention. According to Abouazza, this subject was of
intense importance to the FBI agents who interrogated him. Abouazza
says that FBI agents frequently asked him who had printed
informational fliers on his case and who Jubran was when he came to
visit Abouazza in prison. In an interview from his Montreal home,
Abouazza has said that he has even been interrogated on the same
subjects in Montreal by the FBI in conjunction with Canadian law
These arrests come at a time when there has been an explosion of
activism around Palestinian issues in Boston. In addition to the
NECDP, other groups in the Boston area working on issues regarding
Palestine and Israel include the Boston
Committee for Palestinian Rights (BCPR), Stop US Taxpayer
Assistance to Israel Now (SUSTAIN), Jewish Women for Peace and Justice
in Israel/Palestine, Search
for Justice and Equality in Palestine/Israel, and many campus
groups. Among these groups, the NECDP is the only one which
specifically advocates for a single secular, democratic state in
"historic Palestine", the land area which is now partitioned into the
West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Israel.
Jubran's friends have requested assistance in writing him letters
Intake Service Center
PO Box 8249
Cranston, RI 02920
The author has worked with Amer Jubran on various issues in the
More BU**SH**; Arrest Sharon Instead (english)
(No verified email address)
11 Nov 2002
by Dan Keshet
dkesh, channel1, com (unverified)
11 Nov 2002
SUSTAIN in fact stands for "Stop U.S. Tax-funded Aid to Israel Now!"
Their website is http://www.sustaincampaign.org/
Many apologies for the error.
Update - Emergency Action!!! (english)
(No verified email address)
12 Nov 2002
**EMERGENCY ACTION **
Picket the INS!
Demand a bond hearing for Amer Jubran!
Friday, November 15, 8:00 a.m.
JFK Federal Building,Boston
(near the Govt.Center T stop, Green Line)
Who is Amer Jubran? Amer Jubran is a well-known advocate and activist for human rights, particularly
the rights of Palestinians. On Nov.4, he was arrested at his home in Rhode Island, only two days after leading a
legal protest march in Boston. INS and FBI agents entered his home without producing a warrant and
threatened him with indefinite INS detention if he refused to cooperate with an FBI investigation into his legal activities as an advocate for Palestinian rights. The INS arrested him when he insisted on his right not to be questioned without counsel present. He is still being held without bail at the Adult Correctional Institution in Cranston, Rhode Island.
Jubran's lawyer filed a motion to have bond set so that Jubran can be released while his case is pending.
The court has accepted the motion, but no date for a hearing has been scheduled. Jubran's continuing
detention is a gross violation of his fundamental rights to due process.
On Nov.11, a delegation from the Amer Jubran Defense Committee,accompanied by Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner, attempted to meet with INS Regional Director Steven J. Farquharson to protest this illegal detention and to demand that Jubran be released at once or that a bond hearing be set without further delay. Mr.Farquharson refused to meet with the delegation.
Please join us in an early morning picket of the INS regional headquarters on Friday, Nov.15 to demand:
Justice for Amer Jubran!
This politically motivated attack on free speech and legal activism threatens us all!
Amer Jubran Defense Committee
Jamaica Plain,MA 02130
NECDP (at) attbi.com
Zionists run state secret police force (english)
by Abdel Rahman
(No verified email address)
19 Nov 2002
These Jewish police force use brain control to make police arrest Palestinians because of poorness
Allah has avenge the blood of poor activist.
Death to America!
This is not news. GET THE FACTS! (english)
by Tim Tubbs
(No verified email address)
21 Nov 2002
Modified: 20 Dec 2002
Amer Jubron was arrested because he committed fraud in his application with INS, not because he is any sort of activist.
He got his status through his US citizen wife. Where is she through all this? Any of these half ass journalists l
look into that? Because they don't live together and haven't for almost two years, if ever. He committed fraud to get his green card. Didn't you see the movie?
The truth hurts - deal with it.
Support Amer (english)
by Nadim Kanafani, M.D.
nadimk (nospam) gracehill.org (unverified)
24 Nov 2002
Amer Jubran's case is yet another example of our government's fatuous pro-Israeli stance, targetting for persecution anyone with prominent pro-Palestinian anti-Israeli views. I have no doubt that the targetting of Palestinians is a policy originating in the Zionist Bush administration, now with the force of "law" under new homeland security legislation. We will only work harder, be more vocal, more boisterous, more aggressive in our efforts to educate people about and dismantle the military/White House/Knesset axix of evil and free the Palestinians and all oppressed people's everywhere. This is not rhetoric. This is real direct action.
Reply to Tim (english)
25 Nov 2002
On the matter of why Amer was arrested, I refer everyone
to the article on Amer's release.
"After the hearing, Brill suggested that the initial filing of unnotarized papers was a minor error on the part of Jubran's previous lawyer. Furthermore, he said that the INS must have "combed over the file for weeks" in order to spot this error. The timing of the arrest, he continued, pointed to political reasons, coming three years after Jubran was granted permanent resident status but only two days after he led a downtown Boston rally with the New England Committee to Defend Palestine (NECDP), an organization which Jubran co-founded. The message the FBI wants to send to immigrants and activists, according to Brill, was that you should stay silent if you want to be safe. Brill also thought that the large anti-war rally on November 3 may have played a role in the decision to arrest Jubran. "
Apparently the INS has tried to get Amer's ex-wife to
say that their marriage was a fake, but have been unsuccessful.
Tim, whoever you are, your government is more fascist every day.
Does that truth hurt, or does it rejoice you?