Palestinian Activist Freed

August 26, 1998

After six months in detention, grand jury resistor Dr. Abdel-Haleem Ashqar is free. Perhaps you remember the story — in late February Dr. Ashqar, a visiting Palestinian academic, was called before a federal grand jury in New York. The grand jury was reportedly investigating a U.S.-based fundraising operation for Hamas. Dr. Ashqar is not a member of Hamas, and he was not charged with any crime. But he refused to answer any of the grand jury’s questions, saying he would rather die than give information that would be used against his friends or relatives. A judge then sent him to jail for contempt of the grand jury. There, Dr. Ashqar immediately went on a hunger strike and the court ordered Dr. Ashqar to be force-fed. The last time we discussed his case on this program, Dr. Ashqar was shackled to a bed in a jail ward at a 45-degree angle with a tube forcing food into his nose.


  • Dr. Abdel-Haleem Ashqar, a Palestinian academic who was in jail for six months under deplorable conditions. He just ended his hunger strike.
  • Abdeen Jabara, an attorney who sits on the board of the Center for Constitutional Rights. He is also the former president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.