[act-ma] "The case of Tarek Mehanna: Imprisoned for refusing to inform" | SW.org
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Tue Jun 15 07:39:04 PDT 2010
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IMPRISONED FOR REFUSING TO INFORM
Safia Albaiti reports on the
case of Tarek Mehanna, an Egyptian American who
has spent months in
solitary confinement on trumped-up charges.
June 15, 2010
A cell approximately 20 feet long and 15 feet wide, in a maximum
prison at the Plymouth Correctional facility, Muslim
pharmacist Tarek Mehanna, from Sudbury, Mass.,
has been in solitary
confinement for more than five months for
refusing to be an informant for the
FBI at his local mosque.
doctoral graduate of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, respected
the Muslim community for his leadership, charisma and
dedication, as well as
for his outspoken political views against
the "war on terror" at home and
abroad, Tarek was targeted by the
FBI as a potentially valuable tool to
corroborate any and all
accusations against Muslims in Boston made by federal
their ranks of agent provocateurs and co-conspirators in the
web of entrapment and detention of Arabs and Muslims in this country.
victim of constant surveillance and blackmail, Tarek firmly refused to
in his words, "a house slave to an agency that made my people
the target of
Federal agents threatened to make
Tarek's life a "living hell" for his
refusal, and after months,
Tarek was arrested on November 2008 on spurious
charges of making
"false statements" to federal officers. He was subsequently
on bail after the case dragged on, with the FBI's failure to provide
evidence to the charges resorting in only more coercion.
not only refused to submit, but spoke out in his community against the
detention of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, who had been kidnapped in Pakistan
imprisoned and tortured for five years at Bagram prison in Afghanistan.
no new evidence, but an explosive and vicious media campaign against
the FBI arrested him for a second time in the early morning hours of
21, 2009, on charges of conspiracy to attack civilians at an
local shopping mall and kill American soldiers abroad as well as
of the executive branch of the federal government.
prosecution's only evidence came in a 55-page FBI affidavit, based
on testimony from "co-conspirators" in return for leniency
in their own
The presiding judge in this case, Judge
Leo T. Sorokin, declared on November
19, 2009, that Tarek would be
held without bail for having "demonstrated his
ongoing support of
terrorism, both by his own recorded statements and by
time and effort in promoting terrorism."
The evidence provided
to justify this amounted to little more than
translating an Arabic
book to English, traveling to Arab countries, having
conversations, having a blog, and using words like "peanut butter
jelly" to supposedly mean planning for terrorist attacks.
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THE MEDIA frenzy whipped up meant that
there was no need to demand actual
evidence for anything, including
why the FBI needed to initially charge Tarek
with making false
statements if it had been known that Tarek was supposedly
something far more serious for years.
In a letter to his
supporters responding to a February 2010 /Boston Globe/
the case that noted that he had not even been formally charged
any crimes, Tarek remarked that it was:
most horrific of the allegations leveled against me is
only one I am not being charged with? Does that make any sense
it make an iota of sense that I supposedly "plotted" to do this, and
then left untouched for years after the FBI supposedly "found
during which I visited the mall countless times, worked,
from college, repeatedly boarded airplanes, taught children, came
daily contact with hundreds of people, and was then asked by the FBI
>work for them?
>Is this how a "dangerous
terrorist" is treated? No intelligent mind can
supporters point out that the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney
Auerhahn, already has a history of misconduct with potential for
or criminal sanctions for coercing a witness into giving false
falsifying evidence and perjury while he was in the Racketeering
in the 1989 case of /Vincent Ferarra v. U.S/.
Instead of being
sanctioned, Auerhahn was allowed by former U.S. Attorney
Sullivan and by current U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz to continue
as a federal prosecutor in the Anti-Terrorism Unit, where he has been
to use the same tactics on a different set of victims.
spends 23 hours of everyday with no human contact as the case proceeds
and he faces life imprisonment if found guilty. The same story
be found around the country as untold numbers of predominantly young
men have been arrested and detained since 9/11, and at an accelerated
over the last two years, in order to generate a constant level of
hysteria at a time of majority opposition to the wars in Iraq
Afghanistan and the expansion of surveillance programs and wiretapping.
has most recently led to the sentencing of 30-year-old
Fahad Hashmi to 15 years in prison, and the May bomb blast
Jacksonville, Fla., mosque 10 days after the country's attention was
on the attempted Times Square bombing.
The May 13 high-profile
FBI raids in Watertown and Brookline, Mass., that
attempted to link
the arrest of local Muslims based on immigration-related
to the Times Square plot has also provided ample fodder for
attacks on Muslims and immigrants in the Massachusetts
race this year.
The wave of raids, FBI entrapment, arrests, sham
trials, smear campaigns and
hate crimes are the perfect climate to
shore up support for the indefinite
detention and torture of Arabs
and Muslims and unpopular wars as part of a
never ending "war on
Tarek summed up his detention this way: "It is much
more heroic at a press
conference to have gotten a 'mall-shooter'
than it is to have to reveal to
the public that in the midst of an
economic disaster, $50,000 tax-payer
dollars a year are going to be
spent keeping some guy in solitary confinement
couldn't get him to do your bidding."
What is needed is a
movement that can fight back against the war on terror
Arabs and Muslims here at home, and free Tarek Mehanna from the
he is being made to endure for daring to refuse to repress his
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What you can
The letters Tarek receives in prison are very important for his
in solitary confinement. You can write to Tarek at:
Tarek Mehanna ID#50660
Unit GSE-108, Plymouth County Correctional
Facility, 26 Long Pond Road,
Plymouth, MA 02360
at the Paypal account set up through the Free Tarek Web site
All donations go to funding organizing for Tarek and to Tarek's account
in prison to buy stamps, pay for phone calls, etc.
contributed to this article.
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