Amer Jubran Defense Committee
P.O. Box 755, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
For further information, contact Scott Cooper at 617-964-8029
November 15, 2002
Picket and Rally at INS Demands Release of Jailed Palestinian Activist: Local Leaders Denounce Abuse of “Homeland Security”
The plaza in front of the JFK Federal Building in Boston was the scene of a spirited picketline of more than 75 people this morning. Demonstrators demanded the immediate release of jailed human rights activist Amer Jubran. The picket began at 8:00 a.m., followed by a 9:00 a.m. press conference and rally at which local civil liberties advocates and political activists addressed the Jubran case and other attacks on the right to free speech. Jubran, a Palestinian, is a permanent resident of the United States with irreproachable immigration credentials.
On Mon., Nov. 4, at 8:00 a.m., FBI and INS agents entered Jubran’s Rhode Island. Jubran had led a legal march and rally in Boston only two days earlier commemorating the 85th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. He has been threatened with “indefinite detention” after refusing to cooperate with the FBI, which sought to question him without counsel present. After a concerted international campaign to demand Jubran’s release, a bond hearing has been scheduled for Thurs., Nov. 21, at 9:00 a.m. at the JFK Federal Building.
Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner, who has worked closely with Jubran to ensure that rallies and marches in Boston have been legal and permitted, spoke at this morning’s rally and warned of assaults against constitutional rights and guarantees and a growing atmosphere of political repression. Nancy Murray of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts denounced the attack on Jubran as an attack on the right to speak out against government policies. No charges have been filed against Jubran, nor has he done anything that would warrant his detention.
Urszula Masny-Latos of the National Lawyers Guild expressed “outrage” and characterized the treatment of Jubran as “only one example of the flagrant abuses of human rights perpetrated by the Department of Justice over the past 13 months.” She characterized the “treatment of law-abiding immigrants such as Mr. Jubran” as “an affront to basic principles of democracy.”
Nelson Brill, Jubran’s immigration lawyer, explained elements of the case and drew the connections between Jubran’s treatment and the generalized harassment that has confronted immigrant workers in the post-Sept. 11 environment. Other speakers included Richard Hugus, a member of the Defense Committee who has visited Jubran in prison, and Steve Gillis, a local leader of International A.N.S.W.E.R., who drew the links between the Jubran case and the effort to frame Haitian school bus driver Marcus Jean as a terrorist. Jean was found “not guilty” yesterday in West Roxbury District Court.
Notably, when a delegation from the Amer Jubran Defense Committee attempted to enter the JFK Federal Building and go to the INS office, as had been done on Tuesday, Nov. 12, police barred entry to this public building on the orders of INS Deputy District Director Denis C. Riordan, who claimed that because a bond hearing had been set, the case was now out of his office’s hands. The delegation had sought to invite an INS representative to explain to the crowd why Jubran was being detained illegally. Eventually, two members of the delegation were able to meet with Riordan and delivered the Defense Committee’s demand that Amer Jubran be released immediately.
The detention of Jubran is a politically motivated attack on free speech and legal activism. It is the local face of “homeland security,” and threatens the civil liberties and constitutional guarantees of all.