ADC Congratulates Nasser Ahmed on his Release, Victory
ADC Press Release: ADC Congratulates Nasser Ahmed on his Release,
Victory over Secret Evidence Washington D.C., Nov. 30– The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) extends its warmest congratulations to Nasser Ahmed, who was today released after spending over 3 years in jail without charge and on the basis of secret evidence. His release came after the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) withdrew its request to Attorney General Janet Reno to overrule the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision of Nov. 22 to release Mr. Ahmed.
On July 30, following three days of hearings on the “secret” evidence that was long-withheld from Ahmed and his attorneys, immigration judge Don Livingston, in a strongly worded opinion, ruled that Ahmed should not be deported and ordered his release. Since Ahmed was first arrested in 1996, the government has never charged him with any crime. It sought his deportation based on his alleged “association with a known terrorist organization.” The evidence supporting this allegation was withheld from Ahmed and his attorneys, and for years he languished in solitary confinement without charge and without the opportunity to examine and challenge the evidence against him.
There are about 20 individuals currently being held in jail in the United States without charge and on the basis of secret evidence. Almost all of these prosecutions target immigrants of Arab descent. As in the cases of Hany Khiarladeen, Imad Hamad and the Iraqi 6, declassified evidence once held secret and used as the basis for the imprisonment and deportation of Arab-Americans has been exposed as evidence that cannot withstand challenge. Yet again, the “secret evidence” has repeatedly failed to impress judges, a series of whom, ordered Nasser Ahmed‘s release. Nasser Ahmed‘s case also shows the disturbing pattern by which the Justice Department and INS have rejected judges‘ orders for the release of “secret evidence” prisoners and consistently chosen to appeal to ever higher courts. It again demonstrates why legislation ending this practice, HR 2121 “the Secret Evidence Repeal Act of 1999,” must be passed.
ADC President Hala Maksoud said “We are delighted that at long last justice has prevailed in the case of Nasser Ahmed. We thank the INS for withdrawing their request that the Attorney General overturn the Judges‘ ruling in this case. But we urge the Justice Department and the INS to stop the use of secret evidence which is an unconscionable violation of constitutional and human rights. Secret evidence has no place in responsible law enforcement.”