2 November, NYC: Vigil for the Holy Land Five


Monday, 2 November
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Outside the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC), NYC
Facebook event: http://on.fb.me/1LqKA0j

Next No Separate Justice vigil Nov 2nd on the Holy Land Five

The next No Separate Justice (NSJ) vigil will be taking place on Monday, November 2nd from 6-7PM outside the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in lower Manhattan, a federal prison where people accused of terrorism-related offenses have been held in solitary confinement for years, even before they have been tried.

The November vigil will focus on the case of Holy Land Five (HL5), and is co-sponsored by NYC Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Center for Constitutional Rights, Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, Islamic Movement for Justice, Brooklyn College Students for Justice in Palestine, Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, and others.

The Holy Land Foundation was a charity founded in 1989 that provided aid to people in Palestine and across the world. Without defining what its claim even meant, the prosecution alleged that the charity commissions in Palestine that the HL5 used to distribute aid through were controlled by Hamas. This enabled the US government to argue the men were guilty of providing material support to a terrorist group, even though the same charity commissions were also used by the UN and the Red Cross to distribute aid. Five former employees of the HL5 are currently serving between 15 and 65 years in prison.

The prosecution and incarceration of the Holy Land Five underlines three pressing issues in how terrorism suspects are tried and convicted in post 9/11 America:

1) the criminalization of Muslims’ giving as well as political organizing around the issue of Palestine: The HL5 were prosecuted even though the same charity committees were used by high profile agencies including the UN and USAID to get aid into Palestine.

2) due process issues: At the HL5 retrial (the first trail resulted in a hung jury), the prosecution used an anonymous expert testimony—believed to be a first in US judicial history—as well as classified evidence which the defendants were not allowed to review.  Also, the government can make an allegation, like one organization “controlling” another, with no specific definition, and without even specifying the requirements to prove its claim.

3) conditions of confinement: Members of the HL5 are now held in Communication Management Units, which the Center for Constitutional Rights has called an “experiment in social isolation” as prisoners are denied physical contact with family members and phone calls are severely limited.

The five members of the HL5 include Ghassan Elashi, co-founder and board chairman; Shukri Abu-Baker, president and CEO; Mohammad El-Mezain, co-founder and California HLF office representative; Mufid Abdulqader, volunteer fundraiser and Abdulrahman Odeh, New Jersey office HLF representative.

Please join us on November 2 to learn more about these issues and hear from:

– Noor Elashi, Ghassan Elashi’s daughter
– statements from other family members, as well as statements written by the HL5 members themselves especially for the vigil
– Joe Catron, journalist for Electronic Intifada and other outlets
– Nerdeen Kiswani from NYC Students for Justice in Palestine
– Lamis Deek from Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
– Omar Shakir from the Center for Constitutional Rights
– Thomas DeAngelis, Brooklyn College Students for Justice in Palestine
– words from JVP and other groups
– MC’d by Irene Siegel, Arabic Studies scholar, educator and longtime Palestine activist

Directions to Vigil: The closest subway to MCC is the 4,5, or 6 train to Brooklyn Bridge – walk up Centre Street to Foley Square and look for Pearl Street which is in between the two huge federal courthouses on Foley Square. Walk down Pearl Street one block to where it dead ends on Park Row – the vigil takes place there on the corner across from the entrance to MCC.

Learn more at no-separate-justice.org, and follow the Campaign on Twitter @NSJCampaign, and Facebook: