Since September 11th, more than a thousand Arab and south-Asian nationals have been detained indefinitely withouttrial, charge, or legal rights. The Justice Department acknowledged the arrest of 1,200 people before it stoppedreleasing numbers in November; human rights groups believe the total number could be as high as 2,000.
Among the disappeared is Rabih Haddad, a widely respected religious leader and founding member of one of the largestMuslim charities in the US. The Immigration and Naturalization Service came for Haddad at his home in Ann Arbor,Michigan more than two months ago. Since then Haddad has been held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day.
And yet Haddad, a Lebanese citizen who was educated in the United States, has been charged with no crime. Accordingto the Treasury Department–the only branch of government to give any explanation whatsoever–he and his charity,the Global Relief foundation, are suspected of links to the al-Qa’ida organization.
Global Relief, which disburses about $5 million a year in emergency relief across the Islamic world, is the thirdmajor US-based Islamic charity to be caught up in President Bush’s anti-terrorist dragnet in the wake of September11th. On the day Haddad was arrested, its assets were frozen and the FBI raided its Illinois headquarters. Thecharity’s field offices in Albania and Kosovo were also raided by NATO troops and two of their operatives hauled offinto custody for several weeks.
Today we are going to take a look at the case of Rabih Haddad. We are joined by a reporter for the BritishIndependent newspaper, Andrew Gumbel, who wrote a piece on the detention of Rabih Haddad, “The Disappeared,” inyesterday’s Independent, and Haddad’s lawyer, Ashraf Nubani, a Palestinian immigration lawyer based in DC.
- Andrew Gumbel, reporter for the British Independent newspaper, based in Los Angeles.
- Ashraf Nubani, lawyer for Rabih Haddad.