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Thursday, 23 January 2014

Vigil- No Separate Justice-- Feb 3 in NYC

On February 3, 2014, 
No Separate Justice: A Post-9/11 Domestic Human Rights Campaign will begin the first of what will be monthly vigils 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. This new public education campaign aims to shed light on and end a pattern of human rights and civil liberties abuses in “War on Terror” cases in the criminal justice system.

Despite its Manhattan location, the MCC is closed off from public view. Human rights monitors are not allowed in. Press requests to visit are denied. Such secrecy may help explain why few Americans are aware that suspects are being held in the US in solitary confinement for years before trial, often with the added isolation of Special Administrative Measures which gag family members and lawyers from being able to speak about prison conditions or the health status of suspects. At the MCC, terror suspects are typically held in the draconian 10 South where isolation is relentless. With showers in the cell, prisoners never leave their cells, except an hour “recreation” in a solitary indoor cage. They are under constant video surveillance, even when they shower or use the toilet. Roof exercise is denied to 10 South inmates, so people go years without being outside. All visits, even legal visits, are non-contact so the only human contact people receive are from guards shackling them.

Our first vigil will focus on Fahad Hashmi who languished for 3 years in pre-trial solitary confinement at MCC in 2007-2010. After requesting clarity from the US government on the three years of pre-trial solitary confinement Fahad Hashmi was subjected to at MCC, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez “found no justification for the fact that he was kept in solitary confinement during his prolonged pre-trial detention …[I]t appears that his harsh conditions of detention are related exclusively to the seriousness of the charges he faced. If that is so, then solitary confinement with its oppressive consequences on the psyche of the detainee is no more than a punitive measure that is unworthy of the United States as a civilized democracy.”

These inhumane conditions are not unique to the MCC. In an effort to shine a light on the MCC and other prisons like it across the country which remain shrouded in secrecy and closed to any outside review, the No Separate Justice campaign – a coalition of civil rights organizations, community groups, academics, and family members including Amnesty International USA, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Council On American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)-New York, and Educators for Civil Liberties – will be holding evening vigils outside the MCC on the first Monday of every month from 6-7PM.

Please bring a flashlight with you as we will be shining a light together to expose this domestic torture site, the MCC. 

Please confirm you are joining us on Feb. 3 and help us distribute this widely to your networks: Facebook Page--  https://www.facebook.com/events/1414040602169856/


Free All Political Prisoners!

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