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Palestinian Activist Ordered Released After Two Years in Prison Without Charge

April 12, 2004


Elaine Bartlett

Who spent 16 years in prison for a first-time drug offense. After her release, Bartlett had no money, no job and no real home. We hear her story and speak with Village Voice journalist Jennifer Gonnerman, author of a new book about Bartlett entitled "Life on the Outside," the first major work of journalism on the subject of re-entry.

A federal judge in Pennsylvania ordered the release of the Palestinian New York activist Farouk Abdel-Muhti who had been jailed since April 2002 even though he has never been charged with a crime. Abdel-Muhti was a prominent activist in the New York area and could often be heard on Pacifica station WBAI. We speak with his lawyer and hear an April 2002 interview with Abdel-Muhti just before his detention.

In Pennsylvania, a federal judge last week ordered the release of prominent Palestinian New York activist Farouk Abdel-Muhti. Abdel-Muhti has been jailed for almost two years even though he has never been charged with a crime.

As a Palestinian who came to the U.S. four decades ago, Abdel-Muhti argues he is "stateless" and has no country to which he can be deported.

In April 2002, three New York police officers and an INS agent, all in civilian dress, came to Abdel-Muhti’s Queens apartment without a warrant. They claimed they wanted to ask Abdel-Muhti some questions about September 11th. They said they believed there were weapons and explosives in the apartment. When Farouk’s roommate, Bernard McFall refused to open the door, they threatened to break it down, entering without a warrant.

But Abdel-Muhti wasn’t at home because he was at an early morning interview at Pacifica station WBAI-New York. He learned of the raid from his son, Tarek, and his roommate, Bernard McFall who works for the Environmental Protection Agency.

He was detained on April 26, 2002 and has been in jail in various facilities ever since, often in solitary confinement, subjected to extensive interrogation, and often been denied food. His supporters consider him to be a political prisoner.

  • Jeffrey Fogel, one of Farouk Abdel-Muhti’s lawyers and the legal director for the Center for Constitutional Rights.
  • Farouk Abdel-Muhti, interviewed by Democracy Now! in April 2002, right before being detained.

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