Reno Blocks Palestinian's Release

December 13, 2000

Attorney General Janet Reno blocked the release yesterday of a Palestinian who has been jailed on evidence for three years without charges.

The government maintains that Mazen Al-Najjar, a 43-year-old academic, had links to Mideast terrorists and was a threat to national security. Al-Najjar has denied any ties to terrorists. But not even his lawyers have seen the evidence against him.

Reno’s order came shortly after 9 a.m. as his family waited with an $8,000 check to post bail and secure his release. With Al-Najjar’s wife, Fedaa, were his three daughters.

Al-Najjar, who was raised in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, has been in the United States since 1981, his student visa long expired. A hearing on his application for asylum is expected to be held in January.


  • David Cole, Georgetown University Law Center.
  • Nahla Alarian, sister of Mazen Al-Najjar.