Support Michele Swensen
by Code Pink! support circle
Thursday, Jul. 15, 2004 at 11:19 AM
Public meeting Sunday July 18th,
At Dairy Queen, 1443 S. Water Street in Kent,
Across from University Plaza, at 1:00 p.m.
The Code Pink! support group (guys welcome) for Michele Swensen will be holding an informal and
informational get-together this Sunday to discuss her campaign and plans of action. Join us! We want to regroup and brainstorm after some truly bizarre new rulings from the federal guv, and we'd love to see some new faces. All are welcome.
WHERE: Dairy Queen in Kent, on S. Water St. across from University Plaza. WHEN: 1 PM, Sunday July 18th
If you can't make it but would like to join the campaign on any level: contact Michele at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be on the contact list, and check out her website,
http://www.helpashraf.com. <== At the site there is a downloadable form letter which you can send to Michele - she duplicates it and send it to many officials.
Michele's support circle members
Ashraf Al-Jailani is a Yemeni man who married Michele, an American, in February 1996. They had three children together who are now ages 4, 5, and 7. Ashraf is Muslim and Michele is not.
On October 23, 2002 Ashraf was arrested at his job. 5 minutes later, 6 FBI agents showed up at his home in Kent and searched it saying they found Ashraf's business card in the wallet of an alledged Al-Qaeda suspect. Ashraf had been looking for a job, and had mailed out hundreds of business cards -- all
in order to better support his family. They presumed that Ashraf must be a terrorist. He had been gainfully employed by an
Akron-based based company for two years at the time of his arrest. He has never been charged with any crime.
THREE TIMES, an immigration judge has issued decisions stating that that there was no evidence against him and that he should be released. The Homeland Security Department appealed each time, thereby keeping Ashraf imprisoned indefinitely, without cause. This is an outcome of the Bush administration's overreaching Patriot Act which denies due process rights to
a targeted population -- Arab immigrants.
Ashraf's attorney requested the FBI records on Ashraf under the Freedom of Information Act. The response? There were no records on Ashraf. He has also never been interviewed by them.
This widely publicized case has drawn much attention to the plight of
Arab and South Asian detainees and Michele Swensen has led the way locally,
even with her limited resources. She is very heartened by the outpouring of support of many men and women who have helped with letters to the editor, letters to elected officials, fundraisers, and other assistance to
her campaign -- a campaign for all detainee's rights. Many know that much is at stake, for
the family of Ashraf Al-Jailani and the approximately 5,000 other Arab
immigrants jailed without charge in the U.S.
NEW REASON FOR ASHRAF'S DETAINMENT: Homeland Security doesn't like to admit
mistakes. Very few detainees (if any) are ever released for lack of evidence to this date. The government's new, very legally dubious rationale is a paternalistic slap in the face to Michele Swensen, who has been spearheading a campaign for his release. The Bureau of Immigration Appeals (BIA) has thrown out all terrorist allegations, yet the sole claim is that he is now "a danger to his wife." This is based on a past conviction of domestic violence, as well
as private files confiscated by the FBI from Michele's computer without permission.
This new (and disingenuous) government tactic is to embarrass Michele and attack her as being incapable of dealing with family problems on her own.
Our suddenly very politically correct federal government has never before played a role in the "protection" of domestic violence victims, nor should it. Anyone with a
cursory understanding of feminist principles understand that this draconian
ruling is an insult to women, and that it is NO contradiction to support the freedom
of Ashraf Al-Jailani. It is time for the government to get out of Michele Swensen's life, as she indeed wishes.
At whatever level that you choose to participate, please join the community
of individuals that know that much is at stake, for
this family and the approximately 5,000 other Arab
immigrants jailed without charge in the U.S.
For more information:
Greater Cleveland Immigrant Support Network
email@example.com, or call 216-252-0440
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