NEW YORK, NY — Activists will gather on Monday, February 10, at 6pm, for a vigil outside the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in lower Manhattan [150 Park Row and Pearl St]. The event will be the first of a series of monthly vigils organized by a critical new campaign titled No Separate Justice (NSJ). Launched on January 7th, 2014 NSJ aims to expose and to work towards ending patterns of human rights and civil liberties abuses created by the Department of Justice under the auspices of the US’s “War on Terror.” NSJ vigils will be held on the first Monday night of every month outside the MCC.
“Abuses are happening nationwide, but the MCC is itself a site of abuse and torture,” said Vincent Warren, Executive Director of The Center for Constitutional Rights. “Prisoners in the MCC have been held for years in 22- to 24-hour solitary confinement and under gag orders euphemistically known as Special Administrative Measures (SAMs), even before they have been tried. According to the UN’s independent expert on torture, solitary confinement of more than 15 days can constitute torture. Despite its Manhattan location, conditions at the MCC are hidden from public view; requests for access by human rights monitors and the press have been repeatedly denied.”
This first vigil on February 10 will focus on CCR client Fahad Hashmi, a former Brooklyn College student who was held in pre-trial solitary confinement and under SAMs for nearly three years at the MCC. Fahad was prosecuted for “material support” for terrorism based on allegations that he stored an acquaintance’s luggage, containing waterproof socks and ponchos meant for Al Qaeda, in his apartment for two weeks and allowed the acquaintance to use his cell phone to call co-conspirators. In the face of a possible 70-year sentence, and after years in crushing conditions, Fahad pled guilty to one count of material support in exchange for a 15-year sentence. Today, he is serving his sentence in the harshest federal prison in the country, the Administrative Maximum (ADX) prison in Florence, Colorado. He has now been held in 22- to 24-hour solitary confinement for nearly seven years.
On February 3 the activists will demand humane conditions for Fahad and bring attention to the injustices in his case.