Will Yemen’s government help Al-Jailani?US to rally for Yemeni detainee [Archives:2003/682/Front Page]
By Yemen Times Staff
and New Services
Washington, Nov 2 – A US protest group is to organize a rally next month at the York County Prison in to protest the ongoing detention of Yemeni national Ashraf Al-Jailani who has been kept in prison with no charges for a year.
The organizer of the protest, Ms. Kathleen Lucas, said she would protest detention policies since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks including the ‘illegal arrest’ of Al-Jailani by the FBI.
The protest is among other efforts to have Al-Jailani released, especially as there has been no conviction so far, and presented evidence lacks credibility, according to York sources.
This comes as the York-based Plain Dealer said that “an FBI agent disclosed in immigration court in York, Pennsylvania, that a grand jury is probing possible terrorist activity in Northeast Ohio linked to Al-Jailani.”
“FBI Special Agent Roger Charnesky, testifying under oath about his investigation of a Al-Jailani the FBI calls an al-Qaida “first stringer,” acknowledged that no charges have been filed against Ashraf Al-Jailani in the year since his arrest on Oct. 23, 2002.
“The Cleveland U.S. attorney’s office recently opened a grand jury on this matter,” Charnesky then stated. When Al-Jailani’s law yer pressed for details, the agent said such proceedings were secret. “I should not have said anything,” Charnesky said.”
“I am not a terrorist and I have no link to terrorists,” Al-Jailani told the court in a recent hearing.
Wife in defense
Among those who are furiously fighting to have Al-Jailani released is his wife Michele Swensen. “Ashraf has been held in jail for over a year now, but they haven’t charged him with anything. They’ve never even interviewed him. He just sits in jail, day after day. They’ve moved him 6 hours away, so it is very difficult for him to consult with his lawyer.
“His lawyer cannot call into the prison, so the only way they can contact each other is through letters. I am very poor now that Ashraf’s income is gone. I cannot afford to go to York, PA to visit him. I haven’t seen him in a year. He misses his children more than words can say.” she said.
Yemeni government has to act
Meanwhile, the Yemeni government has done very little to intervene, so Al-Jailani’s family and relatives have expressed their desire to have the Yemeni government exert greater effort.
Petitions were raised and websites were opened to call upon the community in the USA to respond in pressurizing the authorities.
Among the petitions issues was one posted at (thepetitionsite.com).
The petition said, “Ashraf received a domestic violence conviction in 1998, from which the INS issued a deportation order. However, Ashraf’s conviction was pardoned by the governor of Ohio.
Regardless of the pardon, the INS and FBI arrested him on Oct. 23, 2002, and have kept him in detention ever since. The FBI has alleged that he’s a threat to homeland security, but they have put forth no proof whatsoever to back up their claims.
They have not charged him with anything. They just continue to hold him, keeping him away from his wife and three small children. This indefinite detention must end, and Ashraf must be returned to his family in Ohio.
Al-Jailani and his wife have suffered cruel and unusual punishment by our government. Please support just treatment for Ashraf Al-Jailani and his family and for all the foreign-born prisoners who are being unfairly detained in American prisons. America is supposed to be a country of justice.”