The Secret Evidence Saga of Hany Kiareldeen Continues: Hearing Tomorrow
Washington D.C., October 20 — U.S. District Court Judge William Walls today granted a petition of habeas corpus for secret evidence victim Hany Kiareldeen, and ordered his immediate release. Judge Walls informed all parties that the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and Attorney General Janet Reno would be in contempt of court if they continue to incarcerate Kiareldeen. The INS has appealed this ruling and an appeals court hearing will be held tomorrow at 10:15 in Newark, NJ. Two days ago, Hany Kiareldeen‘s release was ordered by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), which upheld the ruling of an immigration judge that he should be freed after being held for over 18 months in solitary confinement on the basis of secret evidence. The immigration rulings also granted him resident alien status based on his nine years in the United States and his marriage to an American citizen. Yesterday, the INS announced that it intends to keep Kiareldeen in jail and has asked for a stay of the BIA ruling until Oct. 29 while it considers another appeal, which would take the case directly to the Attorney General.
The government claims to have “secret evidence,” withheld from Kiareldeen and his lawyers, that shows that Kiareldeen poses a “threat to national security,” however every judge and group of judges that has reviewed this evidence has dismissed it and ruled in his favor. There are at least other 20 individuals currently being held in jail in the United States without charge and on the basis of secret evidence. All of these prosecutions target immigrants of Arab descent.
This case once again demonstrates that secret evidence is generally synonymous with weak evidence, since its unchallenged presentation has repeatedly failed to impress judges who have now three times ordered Hany Kiareldeen‘s release. It again demonstrates why legislation ending this practice, HR 2121 “the Secret Evidence Repeal Act of 1999,” must be passed.
Houeida Saad, Kiareldeen‘s attorney and former Legal Director of The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), explained that “The use of secret evidence allowed both the FBI and INS to maintain their allegations without any basis or foundation and both agencies never retreated from those allegations despite exculpatory information in their possession which to this day they did not forward to the immigration judge or the BIA. This case is an absolute travesty of justice”