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A Democracy Now! Exclusive Interview with a Pakistani Human Rights Attorney Minutes Before He Is Deported On Election Day; Organizers Estimate Between 3-4 People Are Deported Every Day From New York C

November 07, 2002


Today we’re going to talk about an Election Day storythat has not yet been reported by any media outlet.

It’s a story about a pro-democracy activist and humanrights attorney from Pakistan.

He was deported on Election Day.

He asked us to call him by the pseudonym "Alex".

In Pakistan, Alex worked with pro-democracy activists.As an attorney, he represented minorities andoppressed groups. Around three years ago, Alex fledPakistan after receiving an increasing number ofthreats. He entered Canada on a Canadian visa but wasrefused permanent immigration status.

He then crossed the border into the United Stateswithout the proper papers. He moved to Queens, NewYork, and took a job as a security guard.

Police officers raided Alex’s home a few months ago. They found a booklet on helicopters, and accused Alexof having a false ID and being a terrorist.

The charges were dropped, but Alex was then handedover to the INS.

He was imprisoned for two months. According to Alex,his lawyer told the judge he would accept voluntarydeportation, without ever consulting Alex. A secondlawyer told the judge Alex had no reason to fear goingback to Pakistan — again, without consulting Alex.

Alex was deported on Election Day.

Democracy Now! senior producer Kris Abrams spoke withAlex just a few minutes before he was deported. Sheasked him to tell us his story.


  • "Alex," a Pakistani human rights attorney andpro-democracy activist, talks to Democracy Now! seniorproducer Kris Abrams minutes before he was deported.
  • Ahsanullah Khan, director and co-founder of theConey Island Avenue Project.


  • Michael Ratner, executive director of Centerfor Constitutional Rights

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