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The “Dear Fahad” Campaign

Photo: www.freefahad.com

In it’s recent issue, SAMAR, South Asian Magazine for Action and Reflection, a magazine that we here at SAPNA greatly admire, brought our attention to the Dear Fahad campaign.

Syed Fahad Hashmi is a 27 year old U.S. citizen who has clearly not been granted the rights that a non-muslim, non-desi U.S. citizen would have. In May 2007, he was arrested at London’s Heathrow airport on charges of providing material support to Al-Qaida. He was held in England’s Belmarsh prison for 11 months without incident, but upon his extradition to the U.S. he has been held in solitary confinement 23 hours of the day.
However, upon reading more about his case that has been summed up thoroughly with legally verified documents, the case against him seems nothing short of sketchy.

“Fahad is NOT charged with providing any money or resources to any terrorists or being a member of al Qaeda. Instead, the US government charged Fahad with allowing an old acquaintance — Junaid Babar — to stay in Fahad’s London apartment for about two weeks in 2004. During that two week period, Babar allegedly kept several raincoats, ponchos, and waterproof socks in luggage that Babar temporarily stored in Fahad’s apartment. The US government then alleges that at some point Babar gave the socks and ponchos to a high ranking member of al Qaeda. There is no allegation that Fahad is a member of al Qaeda or that he ever personally gave or helped to give anything to any member of al Qaeda. ” [Freefahad.com]

Junaid Babar, who is the only source of substantial evidence against Hashmi, is a convicted terrorist himself. In 2004 he was arrested by the FBI and pled guilty to numerous offenses including setting up a jihad terrorist camp in Pakistan and smuggling money to higher Al-Qaeda officials.

Facing up to 70 years in jail or possible execution in Pakistan, Babar, the self-proclaimed enemy of the US, struck a deal with the FBI. In return for potentially damning testimony against the alleged British co-conspirators, the US authorities agreed to commute his sentence to less than seven years and put him and his family on a witness protection program.  [FreeFahad.com]

Babar’s motives and future gain from providing evidence against Hashmi are clear, and a sadly ironic loophole in our legal system.

SAMAR magazine has joined with the THAW network (Theaters Against War) in the “Dear Fahad” campaign, encouraging citizens to write letters to Fahad in prison, Amnesty International style. Though they acknowledge that he will likely not receive these, the point is to show the prison and the world that people are aware and concerned about Fahad’s inhuman conditions in detention.

Below is a video detailing the conditions of his case and detention:

Free Fahad Documentary

Here at SAPNA, we would like to encourage our readers to spend a few minutes reading about Fahad’s case and writing a letter to Fahad in prison. SAMAR has graciously posted samples to help. Cases like this are not isolated to the Muslim community, their ramifications extend to the rights of all South Asians, and SAPNA readers have a voice to be heard. —SAIRA DOJA

2 thoughts on “The “Dear Fahad” Campaign

  1. This is so important! Thanks for writing about subjects like this. You guys seriously rock.

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