Saturday, April 26, 2008

Dr. Al-Arian Placed in Punitive Detention

From the Immigrant Solidarity Network:

At 1 a.m. on Saturday, Dr. Sami Al-Arian was moved by
hostile prison guards from a regular holding cell at the Howard County
Detention Center in Jessup, Maryland, to the "Special Housing Unit."
The SHU is an extremely punitive and restrictive section of the prison
where inmates are placed in solitary confinement 23 hours a day,
usually in freezing temperatures. Prisoners are normally moved there
for violating prison rules. However, in the case of Dr. Al-Arian, he
has always been placed there without reason or any explanation. In the
SHU, prisoners are subjected to continuous, deafening alarm sounds and
have little contact with the outside world. With no medical
supervision, this is an extremely dangerous place for Dr. Al-Arian to
be during his hunger strike, which is on its 41st day. Dr. Al-Arian
was also held in solitary confinement for 37 months before and during
his trial. This was a deliberate attempt by the government to break
him down physically and psychologically and to prevent him from
preparing for his trial.

Amnesty International has written several letters decrying the prison
conditions of Dr. Al-Arian, calling his treatment "gratuitously
punitive" and "inconsistent with international standards for humane

The Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace urges all conscientious
individuals and organizations to contact the Howard County Detention
Center and call for humane treatment of Dr. Al-Arian. We also call on
media outlets to cover these abuses, which so far have received no


Call the Howard County Detention Center and ask that Dr. Al-Arian be
removed from the Special Housing Unit, where he does not belong, and
that the prison ensures he is given proper medical treatment during
his hunger strike. The number is (410) 313-5200.

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