[Ppnews] Muhammad Salah's Case of Torture
Political Prisoner News
PPnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Mar 31 14:29:15 EST 2006
Friends, this is an amazing case which shows the extent to which the
US and Israeli governments function together in promoting torture and
the prosecution of a Palestinian (US citizen) to further a
"terrorist" prosecution. The attached article is a must read to
understand the depths to which torture is being used by both
governments, Unfortunately, this case is neither an anomaly in the US
or Israel. The Palestinian man, Muhammad Salah, was tortured by the
Israelis in 1993 and now 13 years later the U.S. wants to use his
alleged statements in a Rico prosecution accusing him of supporting
Hamas- "a racketeering enterprise."
Much of the suppression hearing has taken place in a closed
courtroom, barring the press and public and much of it has been
secret even to the lawyers and the defendant with Israeli
interrogators, lawyers and U.S. prosecutors meeting secretly with the judge.
TORTURE, SECRET HEARINGS AND CLASSIFIED EVIDENCE: THE CASE OF MUHAMMAD SALAH
[This article is based on the research and suppression hearing
preparation work of the Salah trial team and National Lawyers
Guild members Michael Deutsch, Erica Thompson, Robert Bloom and Ben
Elson, and was written by PMCRLR Editorial Board member Flint Taylor.]
Some recent background is below.
PRESS STATEMENT ON MUHAMMAD SALAH'S CASE
March 3, 2006
Lack of due process in Muhammad Salah case undermines American
Constitutional rights and civil liberties for all
(Chicago, IL 3/3/2006) - As a civil rights organization, our
aspiration is to see every American granted his or her full rights
under any and all circumstances. Mr. Muhammad Salah, an American
citizen, is entitled to the right to a fair trial. This entails the
right to public hearings. This right hangs in the balance, while
several of his other rights have already been violated.
Closed hearings increase the potential of injustice administered in
the courtroom and because the circumstances surrounding the charges
against Mr. Salah indicate definite constitutional violations, it is
imperative he be granted a fair and open hearing.
Mr. Salah's charge in the United States for involvement in terrorist
activity should not be brought to trial in American courts if based
primarily on the confession taken in Israel in 1993 under torture in
a language he does not understand - Hebrew.
The 4th and 14th amendment of the United States constitution require
that the consent acquired in the ascertainment of truth, or a
confession, may not be accomplished through any form of coercion. The
US Supreme Court has established that the slightest implication of
coercion taints the "voluntariness" aspect of the defendant's
statement and is therefore inadmissible as evidence against the
accused. Dickerson v. United States 530 U.S. 428;
Lastly, The freezing of Mr. Salah's bank accounts violate his 14th
amendment right because he did not have the opportunity to defend,
the property was not forfeitable property. The freezing of his bank
accounts puts an undue burden on his wife and children. By freezing
Mr. Salah's accounts, the 14th amendment rights to life and liberty
and denied to Mr. Salah's entire family.
The American people's interest is not to see a specific outcome for
this trial, rather it is to see that it is a fair trial, and to be
assured that every citizen's due process takes its full course in our
courts of law.
CONTACT: Ahmed Rehab, Director of Communications; (847) 971-3963
<mailto:communications at cairchicago.org>communications at cairchicago.org
An American citizen of Palestinian descent, Mr. Muhammad Salah
traveled from his home in Bridgeview, IL to Israel in 1993 to provide
monetary assistance to Palestinian families. At the Gaza
border-crossing, over twenty Israeli soldiers arrested and detained
him. The Israeli Secret Service then systematically tortured him
during an 80-day interrogation and forced Mr. Salah to sign a
confession in Hebrew, a language that Mr. Salah does not understand.
The Israeli Military Court sentenced him to five years in prison.
After serving his sentence, he returned home to his family in the
U.S. in 1997.
When he returned, the U.S. government had launched an investigation
and had listed him on a list of Specially Designated Terrorists. Mr.
Salah is the only U.S. Citizen to be placed on that list. As a result
of this designation, all of the Salah family assets were frozen, and
he was prohibited from receiving any goods or services from any U.S
citizen not licensed to do so. Mr. Salah had to obtain permission
from the Department of Treasury to get a job, to retain an attorney,
to open a bank account, and to receive medical ca! re. As a result of
these restrictions, his entire family suffered consequences and now
lives in fear of eviction. Mr. Salah suffered these restrictions on
his rights without being notified as to the reasons and without an
opportunity to challenge his placement on the list.
Not until 2001 did the United States federal government re-launch a
grand jury investigation into Mr. Salah's case. Then, in 2004, the
U.S. charged Mr. Salah with aiding a terrorist organization based on
the Hebrew confession, obtained through torture in 1993. He is
scheduled to stand trial in the fall of 2006 in the United States
District Court of the Northern District of Illinois. Mr. Salah~Rs
lawyers moved to suppress the 1993 Hebrew confession as evidence.
Starting on March 3, 2006, the court will hold hearings on whether to
admit this confession as evidence. The court has closed to the public
the portion of the hearing in which Mr. Salah's Israeli interrogators
will testify as to their methods of interrogation. The closing of the
hearing further violates Mr. Salah's Sixth Amendment Constitutional
rights and the public's First Amendment right to a full public trial.
As residents of Bridgeview, Mr. Salah and his wife have long been
active members in their community, where they have raised their five
children. Two of whom are attending college on full scholarships. The
Coalition to Protect People's Rights has united in order to raise
public awareness about the United States government's violation of
Mr. Muhammad Salah~Rs due process rights. The Coalition, which is
comprised of civil rights groups, human rights groups,
community-based organizations, and concerned individuals, advocates
for the safeguarding of people's rights protected by the United
States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Please join our Coalition in this effort to protect human rights and
Mr. Muhammad Salah's right to a fair trial.
For more information contact
<http://firstname.lastname@example.org>cpprchicago at yahoo.com
The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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