Family Targeted by Homeland Security Needs Your Help!
[from a D.R.U.M. bulletin]
A quick update on the Siraj family's situation and some quick support actions you can take.
Background: The Siraj family has been a victim of the government's so-called "War on Terror" against Muslims, Arabs & South Asians. First, their son was targeted and entrapped by a paid ($100,000) informant to incite and then entrap Matin in a false "terrorism" case. After a trial in which there were many irregularities, Matin was found guilty and on January 8th, 2007 sentenced to 30 years in prison. As an act of intimidation, less than 12 hours after the sentencing, the Siraj family home was invaded by more than 15 ICE officers and the father, mother and sister of Matin were dragged away to an immigration detention center. 2 weeks later, after community pressure and a campaign & rally organized by DRUM, the mother and daughter were released, but on an outrageous $35,000 bond.
The father, 3 months later, still remains in prison, while the son has been moved to a jail in Indiana. As this government-created nightmare continues, the mother and daughter are fighting for the freedom of their brother/son and father and speaking out against the injustices against their family. More background at www.drumnation.org
Some actions that you can take to support this family:
The father, Siraj Rehman, still remains in detention at Elizabeth Detention Center, having been held for over 3 months now. His severe health problems persist as he suffers from a severe hearing disability, arthritis, breathing problems, depression, and a history of hernias. His detainment has further exacerbated the problems. His file is scheduled to be reviewed for consideration of release on April 19th by ICE. We are requesting another round of support letters to be MAILED IMMEDIATELY to the address indicated in the sample letter included/attached below. Please respond ASAP if you can so they reach ICE in time! **Organizational letterhead is best if you're affiliated, but your personal name and address is fine, too.**
The family is in desperate financial circumstances and needs support for basic survival, attorney's fees, and exorbitant bond of $35,000 they had to pay. Please donate what you can. Your donations are tax-deductible. Please make checks out to:
DRUM, with "Siraj Family Support Fund" in the memo line.
PO Box 720187
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
The son, Matin Siraj, has been moved out of NY, 800 miles away to the Terre Haute Federal Correctional Institution in Indiana. This facility has received some minor media coverage for the fact that it is instituting a policy of segregating Muslim and Arab prisoners into a special Communications Management Unit whereby the freedoms and communications of the prisoners in the unit are being severely restricted and closely monitored. These policies raise several civil rights, racial profiling, prisoner rights, and procedural issues, all within the context of increasing repressive measures by this government in its so-called "War on Terror."
On a practical level, this has meant that the family is unable to visit Matin due to the financial and logistical obstacles posed by the distance and the "special" procedures for visitation. It has also limited the amount of phone calls Matin is allowed to make to his family, who he may speak to, and the language in which the calls are conducted. For more information:
Again, thank you for your incredible support as we continue fighting for this family's freedom and the larger political attack on our communities. For more information, or an attachment of the letter, please check at DRUM's website. (http://www.drumnation.org ). For more information please contact Fahd Ahmed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sample letter available at: http://www.drumnation.org/resources/RehmanLetter.doc
Or select & paste the text below:
April 10, 2007
Deportation Officer Keith Cozine
US Dept of Homeland Security
Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Elizabeth Detention Center
625 Evans Street , Room 148A
Dear Officer Cozine,
RE: Release from Detention of Siraj Abdul Rehman
I am writing to support the immediate release of Siraj Abdul Rehman who has been held at Elizabeth Detention Center in New Jersey since Tuesday, January 9, 2007. I fully support his immediate release on recognizance or a reasonable bond and understand that his case is being administratively reviewed by your office.
Mr. Rehman is a deeply loved member of a peace-loving family that has worked hard in this country for several years since escaping persecution in Pakistan. Mr. Rehman is hard-working, cares deeply about civic and family matters, has no criminal record, and is simply looking to live peacefully with his family intact. Under no circumstances does Mr. Rehman represent a flight risk for several reasons; the family is deeply rooted in New York's South Asian community and is absolutely committed to staying in this country in order to seek justice in their son's criminal case as well as to apply for asylum. In no way does the family pose a flight risk due to their deep commitments, obligations, and solid community roots to community organizations and religious institutions. As such, Mr. Rehman should be released on recognizance or a reasonable bond as he poses no threat to society, is not a flight risk because he intends to pursue an appeal in his son's case, and is deeply rooted within the community.
For a father that has already lost his son to imprisonment, Mr. Rehman's spirit and health is on the verge of breaking due to detention. If continuously detained, Mr. Rehman will be prevented from a fair opportunity to follow through on appealing for justice for his son's case as well as being separated from his wife and daughter who are in desperate financial and emotional straits. As you may know, Mr. Rehman's suffers from disabling health problems ranging from a severe hearing disability to chronic breathing problems, depression, severe arthritis and a history of hernias.
Out of respect of civil rights and due process, as Mr. Rehman's entire family was detained on Tuesday January 9th, I am concerned that the Siraj family was indiscriminately chosen for arrest due to the alleged charges of terrorism against their young son, Siraj Matin. Approximately 12 hours after receiving the devastating news of an indiscriminate and lengthy sentence for their son, they were arrested for relatively minor immigration violations that do not necessitate detention. Due to countless legal and constitutional irregularities connected to their son's case, the family has overwhelming community support, and the family should not be punished through detention for pursuing justice for their son. If deported, a young son will be left to perish in prison and the lives of an entire, peace-loving family will be ruined. I respectfully request that ICE exercises compassion and justice for Mr. Rehman in granting release.
[name, address, organization, if applicable]
November 18, 2012
October 20, 2012
July 28, 2012
July 9, 2012