Secret Evidence Victim Dr. Al-Najjar Detained Again
On November 24, the INS once again detained Dr. Mazen Al-Najjar, who had previously been jailed without charge and on the basis of evidence withheld from him, his attorneys and the public for over three and a half years until December, 2000. Al-Najjar’s previous detention was deemed by a Federal District Court Judge to have violated his rights to due process. The INS says that in detaining Al- Najjar again, it is acting on a final order of deportation based on alleged visa violations. Al-Najjar is appealing this order to the Supreme Court.
Dr. Ziad Asali, President of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) said “Dr. Al-Najjar spent years in jail for no apparent reason and in a manner which federal judges say violated his rights. Absent any new information in his case, there is no justification for detaining him yet again. ADC urges the INS and the Justice Department to release Mazen Al-Najjar and allow him to return to his family.”
Even if Al-Najjar’s appeal to the Supreme Court fails and he is found deportable, such a deportation is highly unlikely. Al-Najjar is a stateless Palestinian and no country has ever been identified to which he could be deported. Recent Supreme Court rulings have held that indefinite detention of persons found deportable, but who cannot be deported, are illegal and that such persons cannot be held in jail.
ADC notes that the INS and Justice Department have the discretion not to detain those awaiting deportation on a final order. Mazen Al-Najjar has proven that he is not a flight risk and has fully cooperated with the INS at every stage. ADC also notes that he has never been charged with any crime and that previous allegations by the INS that he posed a danger to national security were dismissed as unfounded by several judges.