Posted in General Info, Trial Watch, tagged ADX Florence, Brendon McGuire, Eric Holder, Judge Loretta Preska, Junaid Babar, Metropolitan Correctional Center, Special Administrative Measures, Supermax, Syed Fahad Hashmi on June 10, 2010 |
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A chapter closed this week in the case of Syed Fahad Hashmi. As supporters packed the courtroom and two overflow rooms at 500 Pearl Street, Judge Loretta Preska pronounced a sentence of 15 years, the maximum allowed for under the plea bargain accepted by Fahad after nearly 3 years in severe solitary confinement. Referring to Fahad’s “violent ideology” and suggesting the need for a strong “public deterrent”, the judge accepted and reinforced the prosecution’s assertion that Fahad had spent years developing a dangerous ideology and was only waiting for the moment to act on it- a notion rendered absurd when considering that this action the prosecution is referring to consisted of allowing an acquaintance to stay at his apartment and having some knowledge of what this acquaintance planned to do with a bag of waterproof socks and ponchos.
Prior to the sentencing Fahad addressed the court and his supporters, making his first public statement since being arrested in 2006. As he began his statement, Judge Preska stopped him abruptly, asking him to go slower so he could be understood and so that the court stenographer could take down his words. In apologizing for his rapid speech, Fahad explained that because of the Special Administrative Measures he has been under, he had not really spoken very much to people for the past 3 years. As he continued, it was clear that despite the harrowing treatment Fahad has endured, he was still the student his former professor Jeanne Theoharis often makes reference to, alive if not well, searching to engage others with intellect and reason.
He provided an account of what had happened from his perspective, cited numerous hadiths from the Quran, and explained to the court how he has come to understand his situation in regards to Islamic law. (more…)
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On Tuesday April 27, Fahad Hashmi took a government plea bargain. He pleaded guilty to 1 count of conspiracy for allowing an acquaintance to store waterproof socks, ponchos and raincoats in his apartment. The government dropped the other 3 charges. Fahad made this decision after having served 3 long years in solitary confinement and one day after Judge Preska approved the government’s recent request for an anonymous jury with extra security measures. In addition to the use of secret evidence and indefinite solitary confinement in Fahad’s case, the move to have an anonymous jury raised already heightened concerns as to whether a fair trial was even possible. With sentencing to happen on June 7, Fahad faces a maximum of 15 years, as opposed to the 70 years he might have faced if he had been convicted on all 4 counts. With time already served (4 years total) and considerations for good behavior, Fahad could be out in less than 10 years. It is of note that on the eve of the trial the government was willing to shave 55 years off the potential sentence.
Today’s decision does not in any way detract from the importance of the work we’ve been doing and the civil rights and human rights issues that Fahad’s case has raised. The government’s use of Special Administrative Measures and the attacks on due process in “terrorism” cases like Fahad’s continue and cast a pall on the US justice system. For that reason, we plan to hold our usual vigil on Monday night outside the Metropolitan Correctional Center. We hope you will spread the word and join us.
We will be posting further thoughts and analysis on Fahad’s case and the attendant issues in the coming week.
CUNY 4 Fahad
Theaters Against War
Educators for Civil Liberties
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Please join Theaters Against War in saying:
No Guantanamos at Home or Abroad!
Radio Free Fahad: A Vigil/Performance for Fahad Hashmi
Monday, April 26, 6-7PM
Across from the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan
Featuring music by critically acclaimed soprano Christine Moore, Palestinian-American playwright and actor Betty Shamieh, and the music and poetry of Mahina Movement .
Monday marks the 1420 day of Fahad’s pre trial detention (much of it in solitary confinement) and is our most important “broadcast” yet. Only two days before Fahad’s trial begins, the vigils are in a position to be a positive public face of the movement to support Fahad, and will be all the stronger with your participation.
DIRECTIONS TO THE VIGIL SITE: The vigils take place outside the Metropolitan Correctional Center at 150 Park Row (at Pearl Street) in lower Manhattan. Take the 4/5/6 train to Brooklyn Bridge. Walk north on Centre Street to Pearl Street – which is located between the two major courthouses on Foley Square. Walk down Pearl Street until it dead-ends on Park Row.
Map it: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=150%20park%20row
For more information about Radio Free Fahad visit www.thawaction.org or join us on Facebook.
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