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CCR Denounces Government Attempt to Frighten Jury in NYC Trial of Fahad Hashmi

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Contact: press@ccrjustice.org

April 21, 2010, New York – In response to a government motion today asking for jurors in the case of Fahad Hashmi to be anonymous and kept under extra security, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:

"The case against Fahad Hashmi in itself raises many red flags related to the violation of his rights, prosecutorial overreach under the material support statute, and the unduly punitive and restrictive special administrative measures under which he has been kept without trial for nearly three years. The government’s call for the jurors at his trial, which is set to begin next week, to be anonymous and kept under extra security because of the attention and political activism these issues have drawn to the case is a clear attempt to influence the jury by creating a sense of fear for their safety and to paint Mr. Hashmi as already guilty.

"The United States Attorney writes to the court, “[I]t is likely that the jurors will see in the gallery of the courtroom a significant number of the defendant’s supporters, naturally leading to juror speculation that at least some of these spectators might share the defendant’s violent radical Islamic leanings.”

"The government is manipulating the fact that many individuals and human rights organizations are supporting Mr. Hashmi and raising important criticisms of his treatment in detention in order to gain a conviction. This is deplorable."

The material support charges against Mr. Hashmi are based on the allegation that he allowed an acquaintance, Junaid Babar, to use his cell phone and to stay with him at his apartment in London where he was pursuing a Master’s Degree. According to Hashmi’s indictment, Babar had waterproof socks and rain ponchos in his luggage that he later delivered to Al Qaeda in South Waziristan.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.