From the Land of the Free: Oppression and Injustice at Its Best!
I came across this article which includes an interview with the not-yet-convicted-but-still-jailed-because-he's-Arab/Muslim/Palestinian professor Dr. Sami Al-Arian on the progress of his trial and what he's been through for the past 3 years.
I highly recommend that this interview be read carefully by anyone interested in human and civil rights violations by the US government since 9/11.
The treatment of this professor is unbelievable... hands cuffed and feet shackled, he was made to walk 1/2 mile bending down with his defense materials balanced on his back so that he could see his lawyer...not allowed to make any calls for 6 months...then one 15-minute call per month....23 hours of solitary confinement everyday for more than 2 years as he awaited his trial...
NO, we're not talking about an Iraqi prisoner during Saddam's Baathist regime or an Afghan prisoner under the Taliban. YES, this is in the blessed US of A...
a man guilty until proven innocent (and even when you're acquitted, we're still going to try to convict you over and over again because WE CAN!).
If this is happening on mainland USA, what is happening off shore in Guantanamo Bay?
This is the example we set as the world's superpower. Thank you Bush, Ashcroft, and Gonzalez...what would the American justice system do without you?!
Excerpts from the interview:
"I am allowed a radio, and I do get a newspaper. Of course the conditions of confinement are extremely restrictive, particularly restrictive. I’ve spent three years now in solitary confinement, two of them in one of the most restrictive environments you could ever have in a federal penitentiary. It’s called the special housing unit, and it is no different really from what Guantanamo is. If you know how Guantanamo people are treated, (it’s) pretty similar to it with one exception, and that is that you can get weekly visits.
And when I was there for two years at Coleman, I was the only pretrial detainee in that unit. That unit is designed for federal convicts who have disciplinary problems. That unit is not even designed for normal prisoners. If you are in the general compound and you knife somebody or you have a fight with a guard or you have any other kind of disciplinary problem, they will transfer you to that unit for disciplinary purposes, and normally you stay there for a month or two. I was there for two years. Even those people are allowed contact visits. I was never allowed a contact visit. Normally, if you are in the compound you have about 60 minutes a day of phone call privileges. Over there you have 15 minutes a month. That is one call a month. If you misdial or get the wrong number or don’t find your folks, that’s it and you’re on to the next month. I wasn’t allowed to even make a phone call for six months.
It was designed basically as psychological torture against me. I was the only person who was pretrial in the whole facility of 75,000 people.And these kinds of restrictions, I can tell, you were designed to hamper my defense. When I was in the federal system for two years, I wasn’t allowed at the beginning even to have much legal material in my cell, and whenever I would meet with my lawyers, they were not allowed to bring in a lot of material when they met with me. And when you go to them, you really had to walk a lot of distance (with) legs shackled, hands cuffed behind your back, and they would refuse to carry your legal material. So for a couple of months, I had to carry them on my back. So I had to bend over with my legal material on my back and walk all the way from my cell to where my lawyer would be, which was about close to half a mile of walking distance. I walked like that for two months until the captain saw me one day and was extremely angry with the guards for the way they had been doing it. Then they changed it, and at that time they started hand cuffing me from the front with a chain around the waist where I could carry my legal stuff with my hands. All these were unnecessary, but it’s part of the system, I guess, to put whatever pressure they can on you."
Growing Up Al-Arian
Vigil in Support of Arian
Amnesty International on the acquittal
Free Sami Al-Arian
St.Petersburg Times Coverage
[technorati tags: USA, justice, Sami Al-Arian, torture, oppression]