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Thursday, 21 March 2013

Family & Friends of Daniel McGowan

Spring update

Dear friends,

It has been some time before we sent out a proper update about Daniel. The last 3 months have been busy with helping Daniel adjust to life outside of prison. We wanted to thank everyone for the supportive emails we have received since December. Not only has Daniel seen and read all of them but we are all appreciative of the support that people have continued to show him since 2005.

How is Daniel doing since release?
This is the question we get the most and its a tough one for a few reasons. We want to protect Daniel’s privacy and his desire to move forward but he also wants people to know he is doing well. As you may know, Daniel is working for  a law firm in NYC and started two days after he got to the halfway house. He is working full-time, seeing his wife Jenny, family and friends on weekends and counting the days until he comes home for good. He is not doing media interviews  nor can he attend public speaking events at the moment. We will continue to share emails sent to friendsofdanielmcg@yahoo.com with Daniel.

Is Daniel still in custody? What’s the deal with the halfway house?
Daniel was released from prison on December 11, 2012 and is serving the last 6 months of his sentence at a halfway house in New York. Because he is in BoP custody and still serving is sentence, his activity is limited to work, home and medical appointments. He cannot get unannounced visitors or calls at the halfway house. Unfortunately, Daniel was denied home detention, which would have allowed him to come home month ago and report to the halfway house weekly. There was little reason given other than that it relates to Daniel’s charges. The Bureau of Prisons continues to punish Daniel and ignore his complete lack of disciplinary violations. Thankfully on June 5th his sentence ends and he starts a three year term of supervised released (probation).

What ever happened with Daniel’s lawsuit against the Bureau of Prisons?

We have had a number of small victories in the Aref v Holder  lawsuit that Daniel is a plaintiff on. This is the lawsuit filed in April 2010 against the Department of Justice and BoP for designating Daniel (and other prisoners) to a  Communication Management Unit (CMU).  [The suit’s defendants are  Attorney General Eric Holder; Charles Samuels, Director of the BOP; D. Scott Dodrill, Assistant Director of the Correctional Programs Division of the BOP and Leslie Smith, head of the BOP’s Counter Terrorism Unit].

In the last few months, we were granted the right  to file an amended complaint charging that the BoP retaliated against Daniel for his Constitutionally-protected political activism and speech. It was confirmed through the viewing of previously-secret documents in the legal discovery process that Daniel’s political speech was the rationale for sending Daniel to a CMU two separate times (a total of 47 months).  You can read the amended complaint here.

A few weeks ago, Daniel won an order denying a summary judgment motion filed by defendants over a year ago that argued that he had only complained to the facility that the transfer violated his  constitutional  rights and did not specify that it was retaliatory. Our lawyers countered that Daniel’s administrative complaint was more than adequate.  Nearly 16 months later the Court agreed, denying the motion for summary judgment.

In February, the defendants filed yet another motion to dismiss (read here) which reiterates the same arguments they raised in the last motion to dismiss. In this one, they released  redacted memos written by Counter Terrorist Unit staff regarding Daniel’s placement in the CMU. Theses are very interesting and contrary to the written rationale given to Daniel for CMU placement. You can read them below.

Motion to Dismiss Exhibit 3:   March 27, 2008, Memo of Leslie Smith, Chief, CTU
Motion to Dismiss Exhibit 5:   March 22, 2010, Memo of Leslie Smith, Chief, CTU
Motion to Dismiss Exhibit 4:   February 1, 2011 Memo of Leslie Smith, Chief, CTU

Next up, we will be filing a response to the defendants’ Motion to Dismiss the week of March 18, 2013. Big thanks to our lawyers and the staff at  the Center for Constitutional Rights for their efforts with this lawsuit.  You can download the latest two-page CMU flyer here.

by Jenny on March 16th, 2013


Free All Political Prisoners!

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