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NYC Trial of Fahad Hashmi to Begin Jury Selection Wednesday: Experts, Family, Advocates Available for Comment
Human Rights Groups Critical of Severe Special Administrative Measures; Anonymous Jury Motion Granted
NEW YORK - April 26 - The New York City trial of Fahad Hashmi is set to being with jury selection on Wednesday, April 28. Opening arguments are expected Thursday or early next week. The case has drawn attention and criticism from human rights groups including the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), and Council on American Islamic Relations-NY (CAIR-NY) for the extremely harsh conditions of confinement Mr. Hashmi has faced for three years while awaiting trial under regulations called Special Administrative Measures (SAMs), their impact on his mental health, and his ability to effectively participate in his own defense.
Today, a federal judge granted the government's motion for the jurors to be anonymous and kept under extra security, which CCR publicly condemned as an attempt to frighten the jury in Mr. Hashmi's case, calling the U.S. Attorney's motion "a clear attempt to influence the jury by creating a sense of fear for their safety and to paint Mr. Hashmi as already guilty." In particular, CCR called the government's use of the political activism around the issues of the trial to justify the measures "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 Mr. Hashmi's indictment, Babar had waterproof socks and rain ponchos in his luggage that he later delivered to Al Qaeda in South Waziristan. Mr. Hashmi denies all charges against him.
The following are available for comment and analysis throughout the trial:
Bill Quigley, Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which signed an open letter with AIUSA and CAIR-NY on SAM's and issued a statement criticizing the request for an anonymous jury as an attempt to frighten the jurors and suggest Mr. Hashmi is guilty prior to his trial.
Shayana Kadidal, Senior Managing Attorney of the Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative at the Center for Constitutional Rights.
Tom Parker, Policy Director for Terrorism, Counterterrorism and Human Rights at Amnesty International USA
Aliya Latif, Civil Rights Director, CAIR-NY
Jeanne Theoharis, Professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College, author of numerous books on civil rights and the politics of race in 20th Century America, co-founder of Educators for Civil Liberties, and former professor of Fahad Hashmi.
Abu Yousuf, close friend of Fahad Hashmi and advocate with Muslim Justice Initiative
Faisal Hashmi, brother of Fahad