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INS DETENTIONS: Palestine Solidarity Activist Released, but Others Languish in Jail


In a stunning reversal from its position a week ago, on Friday the INS dropped its call to bar the press and public from the immigration hearings of Illinois-based Palestinian solidarity activist Ahmed Bensouda and agreed to allow him to post bond while his case winds through INS court. The INS, which had detained Bensouda since May 30, had originally asked the court to close Bensouda's immigration hearings, citing 'national security' concerns, and to deny Bensouda bond -- based on secret evidence the government said it had gathered that would reinforce its case against the anarchist. Civil liberties proponents and Bensouda supporters believe public outcry pressured the government to back down from its earlier claims, which observers have called baseless. Still, as late as Friday, the FBI was still contacting Bensouda supporters with Arabic-sounding names for more 'information' in the case. Check out photos by Suzanna/CIMC, Wajid/Madison IMC, and Chris/CIMC from Friday's protest to support Bensouda.

Meanwhile, the INS continues to detain other pro-Palestinian activists, in what supporters have charged are politically motivated attacks designed to derail Palestinian solidarity work. Palestinian-born Boston anti-war activist Jaoudat Abouazza was arrested by federal authorities on the same day as Bensouda. Boston Indymedia reports that local law enforcement has stepped up intimidation tactics against Abouazza supporters, who describe Abouazza's treatment in detention as brutal. And well-known New-York based activist Faruk Abdel-Muhti of the Palestine Aid Society continues to languish in poor health in detention in New Jersey, where he has been held since April 26.

Click here to read Madison IMC reporter Steve Mikesell's report on Bensouda's release, and here for CIMC's backgrounder on the case. To hear the June 21 Free Speech Radio News report on developments in the case, click here. To hear the June 16 Madison/Chicago IMC interview with Bensouda from detention, click here.





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