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Diversity and Outreach Committee

No Separate Justice!
Individuals and Cases Highlighted at Previous Vigils

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Vigils have been held on the 1st Monday night of every month since February 2014, outside the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in lower Manhattan. Each vigil highlights the specific case of an individual or case.

“No Separate Justice!”. The mission of the No Separate Justice campaign is to highlight the gross abuses of the “war on terror” which have taken place in prisons and courtrooms across the United States. The purpose of the monthly vigils is to keep these injustices before our eyes.

No Separate Justice! campaign is a coalition of community groups, academics, family members and human rights and civil liberties organizations including Amnesty International USA, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Council On American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)-New York, and Educators for Civil Liberties. Brooklyn For Peace supports and endorses this campaign. “No Separate Justice” exposes and works to end a pattern of human rights and civil liberties abuses in “War on Terror” cases in the U.S. criminal justice system. Many of these cases are against Muslims or people associated with Muslim groups.

Individuals and cases highlighted at previous vigils:

Fahad Hashmi (February);

Tarek Mehanna (March);

Shifa Sadequee (April);

Ahmed Abu Ali (May);

Farooque Ahmed (June);

Talha Ahsan and issues of prisoners navigating the celebration of Ramadan behind bars (July);

Yassin Aref (August;)

Shahawar Matin Siraj (September). Speakers at the August vigil included Alexis Agathocelous from CCR who is the lead lawyer in the Communications Management Unit (CMU) case that CMU prisoners (including Yassin) brought in 2010. Click here for more info on this case. Shahawar Matin Siraj’s case is included in newly published human rights research including both “Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in U.S. Terror Prosecutions,” produced by researchers at Human Rights Watch and the Human Rights Institute at Columbia University and also “Inventing Terrorists: The Lawfare of Preemptive Prosecution” written by the Albany-based human rights organization Project SALAM and Washington, D.C.-based National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms. “Inventing Terrorists” analyzes 399 federal terrorism cases including Matin’s that have been prosecuted since 2001. The attention being brought to cases like that of Shahawar Matin Siraj, arrested 10 years ago–on August 27, 2004–when he was 22 years old, reflects a growing awareness in the U.S. about the grave abuses taking place in post-9/11 federal “terrorism” prosecutions.

Dritan, Shain and Eljvir Duka, (October) 3 brothers who all received life sentences in part of one of the most egregious post-911 entrapment cases to date, the Fort Dix Five case. They left behind 6 children who are being raised now by the Duka grandparents.

Interfaith prayer vigil co-hosted and co-sponsored by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) and T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights (formerly Rabbis for Human Rights-North America) (November)

Newburgh Four case, (December) a case seen by many legal scholars and civil liberties groups as one of the most egregious post-9/11 entrapment cases on record. The family of David Williams, one of the four men convicted in the case, joined us along with David Heilbroner, the filmmaker behind the new HBO film about the Newburgh Four case, “The Newburgh Sting.”

Retrospective look back across 2014: cases we’ve focused on, and the courageous families who have joined us over the months. (Jan 2015)

Monday March 2, 2015: Updates on a number of recent developments, campaigns, and cases including:

  • Amnesty International’s petition asking for UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, to be allowed access into US “supermax” prisons including state and federal facilities where people are held in pre-trial solitary confinement (like the MCC);
  • The US Torture Report and a historical overview of torture – on the federal, state, and city level – in the United States;
  • Reflections on the Obama Administration’s now six-year promise to close Guantanamo;
  • An update on the treatment and trials of British extradite Abu Hamza Al-Masri who has been held at MCC for the past three years and who has numerous physical ailments including no hands and waining eyesight.
  • The oral arguments presented on January 13 in Hassan v. the City of New York, a federal case against the NYPD’s targeting and surveillance of Muslim communities in New Jersey

Highlights on Monday April 6, 2o15:

Update on UN Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez’s demand to be allowed to visit Federal Prisons, especially Metropolitan Correctional Center here in NYC.

Case of Madhi Hashi:
Mahdi Hashi is a youth worker from London who worked with young Somalis in the city, before coming under pressure to be an informant for the British government. He refused and, while visiting family in Somalia, was told by the British government that he had been stripped of his citizenship and made stateless. In the hope of appealing against the revocation, he travelled to neighbouring Djibouti, where there is a British consulate. He alleges he was then arrested by the Djibouti police, interrogated by the CIA, and threatened with torture. He was then flown to New York by the US government to face “material support” for terrorism charges and is currently being held at MCC, where he has spent more than two years in pre-trial solitary confinement under Special Administrative Measures that prevent him from communicating with the outside world.

May 4, 2015: Vigil co-sponsored by: Prison Watch, Healing Justice and Immigrant Rights Programs of the American Friends Service Committee. Focus on the issues of solitary confinement and surveillance, and the historical connections between their current and prior use. Place the abuses which have been highlighted on a monthly basis in the larger historical context, recognizing that many of them are abuses identified and experienced by others in the past.

June 1, 2015: SPECIAL PROGRAM to highlight all those who have suffered from Solitary Confinement, in co-operation with the New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement. This event kicked off Torture Awareness Month, highlighting the interrelated abuses in the federal so-called “war on terror” and America’s Mass incarceration system. Narratives from people currently as well as formerly incarcerated, as well as those related to people in solitary confinement.

Special Introduction from Journalist Murtaza Hussain whose work has been featured in The Intercept, The New York Times, The Guardian and Slate
Speakers: Hamja Ahsan, Talha Ahsan, Arun Kundnani, Tyrell Muhammad, Michael Mushlin, Victor Pate, Sharmin Sadequee, Carole Willis

July 6, 2015: Focus on issues of paid government informants, agent provocateurs and solitary confinement.
Update on recent cases including the arrest of the two women in Queens on terrorism related charges, the police violence in Boston against a possible terrorism suspect, use of solitary confinement and its impact on Kalief Browder, and the torture amendment to the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act).

August 3, 2015: Lynne Stewart, human rights advocate and civil rights attorney, spoke about her time in the federal prison system as well as the plight of many Muslims face within the American judicial system as a result of American “War on Terror” policies.
CMUs were covertly established to house high-risk inmates. However, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights, many prisoners end up in these units “for their constitutionally protected religious beliefs, unpopular political views, or in retaliation for challenging poor treatment or other rights violations in the federal prison system.” These units are an experiment in social isolation. CMU prisoners are forbidden from any physical contact with family members such as hugging, touching or embracing their children, spouses or loved ones during visits.

Abuses are happening nationwide, but the MCC is itself a site of abuse and torture. Prisoners in the MCC have been held for years in 22- to 24-hour solitary confinement and under gag orders euphemistically known as Special Administrative Measures (SAMs), even before they have been tried. According to the UN’s independent expert on torture, solitary confinement of more than 15 days can constitute torture. Despite its Manhattan location, conditions at the MCC are hidden from public view; requests for access by human rights monitors and the press have been repeatedly denied.

Vigils will continue on the 1st Monday night of every month to help us shed light on abuses in other cases and build the No Separate Justice Campaign!
Join us! We have plenty of signs to share.

Visit their website no-separate-justice.org and their Facebook page.

Follow up to NYC Millions March/Black Lives Matter!
Actions You Can Take

Dec. 16, 2014

Follow up to Millions March/NYC: Black Lives Matter!

Play and to learn song from the Peace Poets:

“I still hear my brother crying ‘I can’t breathe’…
Now I’m in the struggle crying “I can’t leave’ “

**Tonight Dec 16, 6-8 pm:
#ThisStopsToday #11days

Join Jews for Racial and Economic Justice & Arab American Association of NY: Day of Action on the First Night of Chanukah
@ Barclays center,620 Atlantic Ave at Flatbush, Brooklyn
See it on Facebook.

**Wed Dec 17, 6-8 pm:
#ThisStopsToday: Die-In, Rise Up!

7 Minutes of Silence: 5 months after Eric Garner’s murder by the NYPD, join a city-wide, nation-wide, worldwide die-in in honor of Mike Brown, Eric Garner and all those unjustly killed by the police.

People across New York City will hold a collective 7-minute die-in to symbolize the 7 minutes Eric Garner laid dead in the street after he was killed by the NYPD.

Then rise-up to sing this song 11 times, for the 11 times Eric Garner cried, “I can’t breathe!” as he was held in an illegal chokehold.
@Barclays Center, 620 Atlantic Ave at Flatbush, Bklyn
See it on Facebook

**Thurs Dec 18, 6-9 pm:
This Is What Resistance Looks Like: A Teach-In

Panel discussion: overview of police accountability organizing around the city
Breakout sessions: training sessions that will include ways for people to plug into existing work around mass mobilizations, cop watch trainings, and policy & legislative campaigns
Co-sponsors: Brooklyn Movement Center (BMC), Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM), Brooklyn NAACP and NAACP Legal Defense Fund
@ Brooklyn Movement Center, 375 Stuyvesant Ave, between Bainbridge & Decatur (A/C to Utica)
RSVP: rsvp@brooklynmovementcenter.org
Childcare available (by request only)

**Fri, December 19, 4pm – 6pm
#RiseUp4Ramarley

Justice for Ramarley Graham!
@ 1 St Andrews Plaza (off Foley Square), Manhattan
(Dept of Justice)

**Sat Dec. 20,7-11 pm:
NYC Solidarity with Palestine’s 2nd Open Mic
follows Broken Windows Town Hall which starts at 4 pm
@ Church of St. Luke & St. Matthew, 520 Clinton Ave btw Atlantic & Fulton, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.
See it on Facebook

**Stay in touch! Check out:
Police Reform Organizing Project (calendar)
11 Days of Action/This Stops Today
Ferguson Action
NYC/Millions March
Fort Greene Peace Facebook
Brooklyn For Peace Facebook (see photos from Sat Dec 13)

Racial Justice Requires Racial Solidarity!
Join us as we march in solidarity with communities of color, who have borne the brunt of mass criminalization.
We cannot achieve racial justice without the support of those who have benefited from a system of racialized oppression.
This is our chance to take action to challenge the criminal justice systems that are at the center of maintaining racial inequality.

See Why Are We Marching? BFP Statement on Police Killings

BFP Statement on Police Killings

The police killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and Akai Gurley are the most recent examples of the long, brutal history of racial oppression in the US.  Our hearts go out to the families of these young black men, one of them only 12 years old.  We are horrified by the systemic racism of our “justice” system. The tremendous outpouring of protest throughout the country and even the world serves as public indictment of the system which does not even bring to trial the perpetrators of these crimes, modern-day lynchings.

An increasingly militarized police force oppresses not only black but also Hispanic, white, Muslim, South Asian, and other communities. It is the domestic counterpart of our foreign policy in which whole countries are subjugated to violence. This systemic racism in our police and justice system is the mirror image of our illegal wars in the Middle East and elsewhere, where thousands of completely innocent civilians have been killed in the so-called “war on terror.”

Brooklyn For Peace is committed to eliminating war and the social and economic injustices which lead to war. We see the racist bias of our criminal justice system, alarming environmental destruction, the widening wealth gap, the gentrification of our city centers, the privatization of our public schools, and the decaying infrastructure of the country—as issues which are connected, and which must be urgently addressed. Black lives matter! All lives matter! All families matter, and need the resources to thrive!

See Why Are We Marching? BFP Statement on Police Killings as a PDF document.

Also formatted as a half-page flye: .Why We March half-page flyer

 
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