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The Detention of Jaoudat Abouazza
by Daniel Keshet
Email: dkesh (nospam) channel1.com
Address: Cambridge, MA
04 Jul 2002
Modified: 01 Sep 2002
24-year-old Palestinian activist and Canadian citizen Jaoudat Abouazza is being held by the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) in Bristol County jail in Massachusetts. Since his May 30 arrest, Abouazza has been held on suspicions of terrorism, interrogated without a lawyer, beaten, and had four of his teeth forcibly extracted without consent. This is the story of his detention.
Jaoudat Abouazza grew up in the town of Boreen, near Nablus on the West Bank of the Jordan River in Palestine. He became a Canadian citizen like his father at the age of 16, then moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where he joined with a network of Palestinian solidarity activists.
The first time the Boston Palestinian solidarity community had a major run-in with law enforcement was on June 10, 2001. Activist Amer Jubran and about one hundred other demonstrators gathered in Brookline, Massachusetts to protest a celebration of Israeli Indepedence Day. At that demonstration, which by all accounts was incredibly contained, one member of the Israeli Independence Day crowd
accused Jubran of kicking him. Jubran was arrested by the Brookline Police Department and charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (his foot), a charge which likely would've resulted in Jubran's deportation. Following the arrest, the protest was ordered to disperse.
Jubran's charges were dropped when the only evidence forthcoming was exculpatory. An investigation into the circumstances of his arrest by the ACLU and others revealed that the Israel Day celebration had been sponsored and funded in part by the Town of Brookline.
During the protest, the Brookline Police had taken close-cropped head
shots of all of the protesters and later shared this information with
both the FBI and the Israeli government. Palestinian activists put
special emphasis on this point in light of Israel's policy of
assassinating its Palestinian opponents.
Since the stepped-up Israeli occupation of Palestine, Abouazza
became active and public in organizing Palestinian solidarity rallies.
One April 6 rally was attended by twenty-five hundred people,
including many bussed in from Muslim communities around New England.
Law enforcement was a constant presence at the rallies, photographing
and videotaping participants using both plainclothes and uniformed
officers. Abouazza was an active participant, shown on the front page
of the Boston Globe helping lead one of the rallies.
Late in the night on Thursday, May 30, Abouazza was approached by
city police near Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Jubran,
present in the area, offered himself as a translator. As Jubran
recalls, the police officer refused him and quickly called for backup,
saying "I think we've got something big." Abouazza was brought into
custody and Jubran followed. As Jubran waited for Abouazza, the
police officers took Jubran's ID card and made photocopies of it.
Jubran also says he overheard police officers arriving and asking to
see "the terrorist". At 3 AM, Jubran was told that Abouazza was being
held on "serious charges" and that his bail hearing would be set for 9
However, the hearing was delayed until 2 PM on Friday, May 31st,
too late for it to be appealed that day. At the hearing, Abouazza was
charged with three traffic violations: driving without a license,
driving a car without a registration, and driving with an illegal
license plate. Though these charges would ordinarly warrant little or
no bail, the prosecution argued that the bail hearing should be
continued until Monday on the grounds that they had found in the trunk
of his car "suspicious papers" and "incendiary wiring". In a later
hearing, Abouazza's lawyer conjectured that these referred to large
posterboard fliers for the June 9 Israel Day protest Abouazza was
helping organize and speaker wire for a stereo system respectively.
Abouazza's Public Defender, Emily Karstetter, complained to the court
on the 31st that the FBI had attempted to interrogate Abouazza without
her presence or prior knowledge. The court agreed to continue his
hearing until Monday.
Over the weekend, the FBI approached Abouazza for questioning seven
more times. Some of the questions included, "Are you suicidal?", "Do
you know Osama bin Laden?", "Are you planning any terrorist
activities?", and "What do you know about April 20?" the date of a
large anti-war, anti-Zionist rally in Washington, DC. Also over the
weekend, the INS put a detainer on him so that they could take him
into custody as soon as he was released. At the June 3 continuation
of his bail hearing, he was released on personal recognizance into INS
custody. By rule, the time he spent in prison cannot be counted
toward any possible future sentence, as he was not given bail to meet.
The INS eventually took him to the Bristol County jail, where
Abouazza says that when he arrived, he was greeted with a blow to the
stomach by guards. He says he has suffered repeated beatings at the
hands of the guards and the general population of prisoners, whom the
guards told that he was a member of the Taliban. He was placed in
solitary confinement multiple times for refusing to talk, one time
because he wouldn't give information on the group calling itself the
"Jaoudat Abouazza Defense Committee", who had created a flier
regarding his case.
The pre-trial hearing for the Cambridge case was held on June 12.
The INS refused to let Abouazza attend or use the videoconferencing
equipment available in the jail; his lawyer was told it was because of
the twenty-or-so Abouazza supporters attending. The court set up an
ultra-sensitive metal detector and used the opportunity to photograph
all of Abouazza's supporters. As he could not attend, Abouazza was
found in default and a warrant put out for his arrest.
In the morning on Sunday, June 16, he was woken up and brought to
the prisons' dental facilities. As Jubran relays Abouazza's story,
the dentist explained while examining Abouazza that he was going to
remove teeth. Abouazza refused, but was wrestled into the chair by
guards and had metal restrainers placed on his body. When he
continued to resist, they forced open his mouth and gave him a
tranquilizer. They extracted four of his teeth, one only partially
so, leaving him bleeding and in tremendous pain. He was supplied with
a few cotton swabs to stanch the bleeding and when these ran out, he
used any fabric he could find. Later, they put him in a room they
refer to as "the hole" when he refused to sign a consent form for the
procedure they had already performed. Prison officials say that only
one of Abouazza's teeth was removed and that they can't find the
Abouazza's first INS hearing was held on June 20 at the JFK federal
building in downtown Boston. At that hearing, Abouazza requested that
he be granted voluntary departure so he could return to Canada.
Assistant District Attorney Bernard Menendez argued that this request
should not be granted, citing security risks because of "lighters
disguised as cell phones" and other electronics, Abouazza's refusal to
undergo questioning without the presence of a lawyer, and the lack of
any evidence that he entered the country lawfully. They said that
they "didn't know what he's up to" and promised to bring a law
enforcement agent to his next INS hearing on June 27.
That hearing was preceded by a rally organized by the Defense
Committee in which about seventy-five people shouted slogans such as
"Being an Arab is not a crime!" and "Stop the racist frame-up
charges!" outside the federal building. About fifty of them stayed
for the hearing, overflowing out of the courtroom into the hallway.
Menendez again argued that Abouazza should not be granted voluntary
departure, saying that Abouazza had previously been prevented from
entering the country and therefore he must have entered the country
surreptitiously. "This man doesn't respect the immigration laws" of
the United States, he said, and therefore "we must up the ante" so
that next time he breaks the law it will be a felony.
However, Judge Leonard Shapiro ruled that Abouazza is "no different
than any other" Canadian citizen, and there was "absolutely no
evidence" of a security risk, citing the fact that the district court
had released him on personal recognizance and that the FBI or police
could've testified if they believed he was dangerous. He granted
Abouazza's request for voluntary departure and gave until July 29th
for the decision to be enforced or appealed. Menendez reserved the
right to appeal, although he stated that he was unsure whether it
would be used.
During his time in jail, Abouazza has been able to communicate with
his lawyers, and the "Jaoudat Abouazza Defense Committee", which
consists largely of fellow activists. However, these visits have been
significantly restricted. He was first allowed to see his lawyer on
Friday, June 7 after arriving at the jail on Monday, June 3.
Activists arranged for a doctor to visit Abouazza on Sunday, June 23,
but he was transferred to a different unit within the prison, which
had visiting hours on Saturdays, not Sundays. A dentist went to visit
him on June 22, but found that his one visit of the day had been used
up by an unwanted stranger. The dentist and a member of the Defense
Committee returned to visit him on June 25, with Jubran acting as
interpreter. The dentist spoke briefly with Abouazza through glass,
but was not allowed to examine his teeth. Jubran was removed from the
visit and told never to visit the jail again.
Abouazza's case is not isolated. Palestinian activist Ahmed
Bensouda was arrested in Chicago the same day as Abouazza, and Faruk
Abdel-Muhti of the Palestinian Aid Society has been held in detention
in New Jersey since April 26. In Bristol County jail itself, Abouazza
reports he met a man of Egyptian descent who had also had a tooth
removed. This trend has left many in the Palestinian and Arab
communities fearful that they might receive similar treatment,
resulting in the cancellation of the buses from New England Muslim
communities to the June 9 demonstration and a steady decline in the
Palestinian composition of recent anti-Zionist rallies.
Boston Phoenix articles on Jubran's 2001 arrest: 1,
Indymedia report on Abouazza's Pre-Trial hearing
Radio Interview with Jubran
Action Center site on Abouazza
Chronicle Report on Pre-Trial Hearing
Chronicle report on Abouazza's arrest.
Chronicle report on torture allegations
Activist site about Ahmed
York City Indymedia article on Faruk Abdel-Muhti
it's a fucking outrage
(No verified email address)
04 Jul 2002
did they think they'd captured friggin' bin Laden or what?
Here's an idea
by Pat Kincaid
laughter (nospam) aol.com (unverified)
04 Jul 2002
If you come to this country to preach hate, at least make sure your visa is in order.
by Dan Keshet
(No verified email address)
05 Jul 2002
This story was simultaneously posted at http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2002/7/4/05012/46905. There is also discussion available at that site.
Pat KKK the racist
(No verified email address)
05 Jul 2002
Free speech in America, and anti-occupation demonstrations against the murderous Sharon government serves the best interest of all American who believe in freedom from oppression for all human beings.
The brutal and gastapo-like behavior or our law enforcement people is deplorable in a country that claims to be the home of the brave and land of the free.
US the rogue state
by Mike Lane
mickjlane (nospam) btinternet.com (unverified)
08 Jul 2002
My heart goes out to this man. It, yet again proves that the US is a rogue state and cares nothing about its citizens. You can be sure that what is happening in the US is not going unnoticed by activists in Merseyside UK. Thank God for Indymedia!
Could Have Been Avoided
by Jon Chance
jpchance (nospam) egroups.com (unverified)
08 Jul 2002
If Amer Jubran had contacted me, most of this stupid and tragic mess could have been avoided.
The ACLU is useless, if not part of the larger problem - banksters, lawyers and bribery.
Buying A Judgeship
by Sherman H. Skolnick
If you want a car, you buy it. Or, if you are a thief, you steal it. Business is business. And crime is crime. We presume everybody understands that. It seems fundamental in a real world.
And what about public positions? If you want to be a judge, you, or your friends, buy the job. Or, if you and your friends are crooks, you procure the judgeship by blackmail. Yes, there are honest judges in America, but they are an endangered species. [And we have to someday post a story just about that and how some judges in really important matters have been murdered and the Establishment does not deal with that.]
As a court reform group, Citizen's Committee to Clean Up the Courts, we have been greatly interested in two topics for more than 40 years. (1) How does one become a judge? and (2) In the court rulings that we suspect are tainted, "bought", or just plain crooked, one of the tip-offs is the judge, or panel of judges, issues a ruling containing judicial perjuries, that is, lies they insert based on supposed "facts", not in the record, but made up by the Judges out of the air. [A Chief Federal Appeals Judge from Chicago that does that is the subject of a previous story of mine. See "Chief Crook in Microsoft Mess".]
Starting about 1966, from various sources, we made up a list of "prices" to procure a judgeship in a major venue, like Chicago. To become a state judge in the local court, such as Cook County [or Crook County] where Chicago is. The price at that time was 50 thousand dollars reportedly donated to a key and appropriate official of the Chicago Bar Association, the lawyers mafia union. [Now the filling of vacancies on the bench, temporary or otherwise, leading later to permanent positions, is done through a Judge on the Illinois Supreme Court, the state's highest tribunal. More about that later.]
To "buy" a chair in the U.S. District Court, such as in a sizeable town like Chicago, in 1966, was 250 thousand dollars, "donated" or "contributed" to the Senior U.S. Senator from Illinois who makes the pitch to the President who generally appoints according to such an order from the Senior Senator, especially if it is from the same political cabal.
For a judgeship on a federal appeals court, like in Chicago, that covers appeals from federal district courts in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana---well, the price was a million dollars or then and now, "sky is the limit". Now those were 1966 prices, and the "costs" have gone up plenty since then.
Why would someone, or his cronies for him, pay 50 thousand dollars to be a local state judge? First of all, it beats trying to make a living in the law factories (that is what we call them) and running up and back to the different courthouses and courtrooms. But more to the point, it enables the would-be judge to take care of his political and financial confederates. And since all too often, justice is for sale in America, it enables a person to become a judge and live above his regular income, through pay-offs of some kind, whether in cash or property, perhaps offshore. [At the time of Shakespeare, litigants made judges rich by giving them gold buttons for a favorable ruling.]
Suppose there were no morality, no laws against thievery and corruption. There you are, the Judge. You are sitting at a table, or Bench, and on the Bench is a matter awaiting your handling, worth a half a million dollars. So what if 25 thousand dollars, or less, falls off the table, into your suitcase. In business, it would be called a commission, a finders fee, or a referral fee.
The really big bucks cases are in the U.S. District Court, such as Chicago, Los Angeles, New York. It would not be unusual for a multi-million dollar matter to be on the docket of such a Judge. In the federal courts, you are appointed for life. Federal Judges "shall hold their Offices during good Behavior" so says the U.S. Constitution, Article III, Section 1. For many years it was up to the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee what was "good Behavior" to be determined, rarely invoked during the history of the nation by way of Articles of Impeachment. That power has now been unlawfully delegated to be determined by a "club" of judges called the Judicial Council of the Circuit. That is, the appellate circuit encompassing the particular U.S. District, such as 7th Circuit, Chicago headquartered.
In recent years, the different Judicial Councils referred matters for impeachment to the House Judiciary Committee, against basically honest judges who by their rulings, angered America's secret political police, the FBI, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and CIA.For similar reasons, two black U.S. District Judges were removed by Impeachment, one in New Orleans and another in Florida. In Nevada was removed a federal district judge by a frame-up. He dared pronounce the apparent truth from the Bench, that the Organized Crime Strike Force of the U.S. Justice Department were themselves criminals and mobsters in Nevada. A latino federal judge in California dared pronounce, based on the evidence before him, that the INS and the FBI were the American Gestapo. Luckily, he beat back the Justice Department's framed-up criminal charges against him, but it took a piece out of his life.
Why would a band of "businessmen" get together and "buy" a chair on the federal appeals court, such as in Chicago? And pay one million dollars (in 1966 dollars) or ten million dollars or more in year 2000 dollars? Most all the cases that try to go beyond the federal appeals courts require the petitioner, or loser in the appeals court, to beg the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. It is done by "knocking on the door" and imploring the high court to open the door. Called Petition for Certiorari. In a recent term of the U.S. Supreme Court, on the first day of Court, 1600 such begging petitions were pending on their docket. The high court judges being old and tired, or lazy, or indifferent, refused ALL 1600 petitions. Most every one, by collect telegram from the Clerk of the high court, with just one word "Denied", no explanation given. Really? No merit in 1600 petitions?
So for most cases, the various federal appeals courts are the end of the line. Hence, it is wise to buy a chair there. Many of the federal appeals judges own and operate banks, are tied to banks and other financial entities. We call them Banker-Judges. They do NOT disqualify themselves when their financial links are litigants in their court. Guess who wins in their crooked court? [In the 1960s and 1970s, our work led to the jailing for bribery of the highest sitting federal judge in U.S. history. When we accused a 7th Circuit Federal Appeals Judge, to his face, of bribery, he called a press conference. On all the media, this Banker-Judge, Otto Kerner, Jr., (former Illinois Governor), called me a "liar". He tried to get a fellow judge to jail me for "contempt of court". He died an ex-convict, convicted as I accused him. The current federal appeals judges are so angered by our work, they have unlawfully barred me and a TV Show associate of mine, from all the federal courts in the 7th Circuit.]
A cynical reality: often after we have fingered a crooked judge publicly, the Establishment, acting just like the mafia, throws away the judge. He is no longer useful to fix cases. Suddenly the local prosecutors remind themselves that the judge in question does not pay his proper income taxes and such. So they send him to jail. No sensible crook would bother to bribe an already-fingered corrupt judge.
A hard to find book, published about 1962, is "The Corrupt Judge" by Joseph Borkin. He points out from specific, documented examples, the few times in U.S. history that federal judges were removed from the Bench were when the judge got in the middle between two sizeable financial entities. The competing forces crushed the Judge like a bug. But an underdog, such as a patent owner suing a huge corporation for violating his patent, gets nowhere accusing a judge of crooked rulings. [In 1963, our group originally was called the Committee to Protect Patent Owners.] In Chicago, the Banker-Judges on the Federal Appeals court in three separate appeals on the same basic case, overturned a district court jury's verdict, including massive fraud, against Sear Roebuck & Co., in an important patented tool case. The Banker-Judges had a financial interest interlocked with Sears and did NOT disqualify themselves.
In Chicago, a divorce case has led to a supposed federal investigation of possible judicial bribery in procuring judgeships. The estranged wife claimed her husband bought his chair on the local state court for 20 thousand dollars of the family money. The possible bribery probe target has been the Chief Judge of the Illinois Supreme Court, highest tribunal in the State. His home district is Chicago. He has done some strange things reportedly for his political crony, Edward "Fast Eddie" Vrdolyak, at one time a Chicago alderman. The judge once appointed a judge from the lowly traffic court to sit in the intermediate court, called the Appellate Court of Illinois. The appointee reportedly did not have sufficient experience to be sitting in the middle level reviewing court.
This Chief Judge who has appointed judges to fill a vacancy in the lower courts is quite a character. He goes around town in a cherry red Mercedes. His residence occupies two floors in a ultra-expensive high rise in the Gold Coast district of Chicago. [Hey, is this all on his judicial salary? Really?]
Part of the supposed probe is how "Fast Eddie" gets his crony, Chief Judge Charles Freeman, to appoint persons as judges to fill a vacancy. It seems some of them reportedly are also in the Nursing Home business with the judge. [Nursing homes are a favorite "investment" for some corrupt politicians. Such as cronies of Clinton and their Beverly Enterprises chain of nursing homes.]
How far will the supposed investigation go? There is an inclination for the FBI, themselves highly corrupt, to quickly hush up the matter. Why? Some have claimed that Fast Eddie, for much of his adult life, has been reportedly a "mole" or stool pigeon for federal authorities, including the IRS and the FBI. Some contend this stems from the way Fast Eddie beat back a murder charge against him, an outgrowth of trying to break a labor union strike in 1959. At the time, Fast Eddie was a law student and claimed he was in class at the time of the crime. Did he strong-arm his teacher for an alibi? Some over the years continue to say so. Some claim Fast Eddie is a key feature in the reported buying and selling of judgeships.
By the time of the new century, the prices to buy a chair in the federal courts has gone way up. At least a million dollars is reportedly required now to purchase you a judgeship in the U.S. District COurt in a major district like the one that includes Chicago. Ten million dollars or more is required to obtain a chair in the U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit, Chicago, one step below the U.S. Supreme Court that rejects the bulk of all the begging petitions submitted.
So, if you want to know how and why America has come to have a corrupt judiciary, covered up by a venal, lackey monopoly press, and cowardly lawyers, well, these are some of the reasons.
This picture is considerably different
(No verified email address)
15 Jul 2002
The picture painted by this article is much more balanced than earlier articles, but no mention is made of the changes. Before, it sounded as though Jaoudat was being treated shockingly badly. Now it sounds as though it's all been unfair and unpleasant, but not exceptionally so, and that there might be things we're still not being told.
It's a pity that those writing these articles aren't acknowledging the factual differences (e.g.: first it was definitely posters in the trunk, now it's 'conjectured' that it was posters and some stereo wire), and being clear about what things are actually known and what things are claimed or conjectured or presumed.
by No Dumb Yank
(No verified email address)
01 Sep 2002
Being American means never having to say your sorry.