Prayer Vigil in Support of a Fair and Open Hearing for Muhammad Salah
March 06, 2006
What: Prayer Vigil in Support of a Fair and Open Hearing for Muhammad Salah
Where: Chicago Federal Plaza - Near the corner of Adams and Dearborn
When: Monday, March 6th 10:00 – 12:00
This Event is Open to the Public
On that day, we expect Muhammad Salah’s case hearings to be closed to the public. Please come out with your religious community, students, co-workers, and friends and join the Coalition to Protect People’s Rights (CPPR) and the Chicago Community in our efforts to safeguard the rights protected by the US Constitution and the Declaration of Human Rights and in our pursuit of justice for Mr. Muhammad Salah, his family and community.
What will we do?
March silently around the open plaza as a public statement of support for Muhammad Salah’s right to a fair and open trial.
What should we bring?
Bring White Helium-filled Balloons. Signs will be made on the spot by the organizers and handed out.
Why is this important?
An American citizen of Palestinian descent, Mr. Salah traveled from his home in Bridgeview, IL, to Israel in 1993 to provide monetary assistance to Palestinian families. At the Gaza border-crossing, over twenty Israeli solders arrested and detained him. The Israeli Secret Service then systematically tortured him during an 80 day interrogation and forced Mr. Salah to sign a confession in Hebrew, a language which Mr. Salah does not understand. The Israeli Military Court sentenced him to five years in prison. After serving his sentence, he returned home to his family in the U.S. in 1997.
When he returned, the U.S. government had launched an investigation and had listed him on a list of Specially Designated Terrorists. As a result of this designation, all of the Salah family assets were frozen, and he was prohibited from receiving any goods or services from any U.S citizen not licensed to do so. Mr. Salah had to obtain permission from the Department of Treasury to get a job, to retain an attorney, to open a bank account, and to receive medical care. As a result of these restrictions, his entire family suffered consequences and now lives in fear of eviction. Mr. Salah suffered these restrictions on his rights without being notified as to the reasons and without an opportunity to challenge these reasons for his placement on the list.
In 1998, the U.S. failed to indict Mr. Salah for any criminal charges. In September 2001, the U.S. re-launched a grand jury investigation into Mr. Salah’s case. Then in 2004, the U.S. charged Mr. Salah with aiding a terrorist organization based on the Hebrew confession, obtained through torture in 1993. He is scheduled to stand trial in the fall of 2006 in the United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois. Mr. Salah’s lawyers motioned to suppress the 1993 Hebrew confession as evidence. Starting on March 3, 2006, the court will hold hearings on whether the court will admit this confession as evidence. The court has closed the portion of the hearing in which Israeli Secret Service Agent’s testify to the public. The closing of the hearing further violates his Sixth Amendment Constitutional right to a full, fair and public trial.
As residents of Bridgeview, Mr. Salah and his wife have long been active members in their community, where they have raised their five children.