Imam Yassin Aref Transferred from CMU

April 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Karin Friedemann, TMO

In a surprise move by the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), Albany, New York’s Imam Yassin Aref, who was serving a ten year sentence inside the Communications Management Unit (CMU) in Marion, Illionois, has been moved to the general prison population. Aref stated in an email to his friends dated April 13, 2011:

“Finally and thankfully they accepted my request and agreed for me to come out of CMU. Now I am just a regular human – I mean regular prisoner! I am no longer in CMU, so if any of you come and visit me I promise I am going to hug him! Hopefully after six months they will transfer me to somewhere close to my family so I can see my children but as for why and how? Believe me I don’t know anything more than you! They just told me to pack up. 25 days before that I had a team review. I asked for transfer as usual and they told me they would do the recommendation for me but the decision its not theirs. When I called my son Salah, he told me, “Daddy how is it they let you out?

What has changed?” I told him I am still Yassin and they did not tell me anything. However, I am very thankful they allowed me to be in the regular general population.”

Aref was inside the CMU in Terre Haute, Indiana from May 2007 until March 2009, when he was transferred to the Marion CMU. As of April 10, 2011, Aref is in the same prison building but in a different unit. Now he has more space to walk and more recreational activities. He has more lenient social, visitor and phone call rights. There are some African American Muslim brothers in his new unit and they pray the Friday prayer together. Whenever he leaves his unit to dine, go to the yard or library, and to visit the chaplain, he walks by the door of the CMU. Imam Yassin describes his past experience:

“After spending about 20 Months in total solitary confinement at a county jail, I arrived at CMU Terra Haute, Indiana to find a small Middle Eastern community where inmates from Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt and Yemen among others were already there. In CMU, most inmates are Arab or Arabic speakers.

“We are separated because of our nationality and religion. Of course they deny that, but the reality in the CMU proves this segregation is the whole point of a CMU. Otherwise what did I do? Why am I classified as a high risk inmate? How can it be dangerous if they allow me to hug my children? Why do they need to limit my communication? Who I am going to call besides my family?

“All my life in Iraq I was treated as a second degree citizen and half human because I was Kurdish. I left my country to regain my humanity and live free, not to be targeted, imprisoned and placed in a CMU.

When I learned CMU prisoners don’t have the same rights like other prisoners in the BOP, and I found that 65 to 75 percent of the inmates in CMU are Muslim and another 8 to 15 percent are Spanish speakers, I became sad and it seemed like this country is going backward to the dark days of its history when Black people were slaves or treated like slaves. Many inmates in CMU are not criminals. They are political prisoners and victims who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Some like me never committed any crime. Yet they treat us as the highest risk inmates!

“My youngest daughter is still a child and she was born while I was in jail. I never carried her or kissed her and I could never buy a candy for her. She doesn’t have any memory with me. Until she was four years old she used to think ‘daddy’ means the phone! That’s because whenever I used to call home, her brothers and sister would run to the phone saying “Daddy, daddy!” So, she thought daddy means phone! Whenever anyone asks her, ‘Where is your daddy?’ she would point or run to the phone and say, ‘That is my daddy!’ It’s heart breaking but I am laughing. In Arabic they say the worst trial is the one which makes you laugh!

“Thank God with all of these unjustices still my heart is full of peace and Love. My faith saved me from hate. I believe God allowed this to happen and that is why it happened. I look for His reward for all my pain and all of what my family going through.”

Aref is involved with a civil rights lawsuit which questions why Muslim prisoners who are considered a low security risk are being put under high security communication restrictions without any legal recourse.

Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) Attorney Alexis Agathocleous told NPR, “Our clients were designated to the CMUs without due process or oversight, even though they have no significant history of disciplinary infractions.”

However, Aref does not believe that his transfer has anything to do with the lawsuit.


Press Release: Remembering Deir Yassin

April 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Deir Yasin

For Palestinians, 9th of April is imprinted in their collective memory.

It is the anniversary of Deir Yassin massacre when in the early morning of April 9, 1948, commandos of the Irgun and the Stern Gang, attacked the village of Deir Yassin, killing over 200 Palestinians. Armed with explosives and machine guns, a force of 120 men attacked the sleeping village at 4:30 in the morning in what was then code named “Operation Unity”. Eye witnesses and British interrogating officers confirmed brutal killing of women and children.

The massacre in Deir Yassin was part of an official Zionist strategy to frighten Palestinians out of their land and into neighboring countries.

Yosef Weitz, member of the Jewish Agency’s Transfer Committee declared that “between ourselves it must be clear that there is no room for both people together in this country… we shall not achieve our goal with the Arabs in this small country. The only solution is a Palestine without the Arabs and there is no other way than to transfer Arabs from here to the neighboring countries, to transfer all of them, not one village not one tribe should be left”.

“Deir Yassin is one in a list of many atrocities against the Palestinians”, said Majed Al Zeer, the General Director of PRC. “Many other atrocities and massacres were carried out simultaneously in 1947 and 1948, when Zionist Para military forces were embarked on a program to expel Palestinians out of their ancestral land. 750,000 Palestinians, over a quarter of the population, were exiled and continue to endure suffering as refugees”.

“Though Palestinians fled, they could not escape Israel’s violence and aggression. Many more atrocities followed, most notably Sabra Shatilla, Jenin, Khan Younis, Hebron and Gaza. Even now as we remember Deir Yassin, Palestinians in Gaza are being killed by Israel”, said Mr. Zeer.

Gaza continues to be gripped by a siege and on the anniversary of Deir Yassin 11 more, including 5 children were killed and many more were wounded as the Israeli army shelled the already damaged Gaza International Airport in Rafah. Israeli air strikes were also carried out in central Gaza where many homes on the eastern part of the city were shelled.

According to Palestine News Network, A Palestinian farmer was also wounded when the Israeli Air Force fired missiles into the Al Waha area, North West of Gaza city. Several Air Strikes also targeted areas east of Dir Al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, and Al Hawouz area in addition to the Al Rantissi Base, north of Gaza, causing excessive damage.

PRC calls on all to take a moment and remember Deir Yassin and bear in mind that the forces of aggression and the conditions of injustice behind this massacre has locked Palestinians into a cycle of oppression, exile and violence which has disgracefully normalized violence and aggression against the Palestinians.

Ending this ongoing cycle of violence against the Palestinians and giving them their rights is the only just and realistic path to peace.

This will not happen unless the international community demands that Israel respect and abide by the rule of law and until the international community takes effective measures to enforce them, as it did in Libya.

The international community must show the same level of concern as it did for the civilians of Ben Gazi and impose a similar heavy price on an Israeli regime that drops bombs just because it can. Such double standards must end and real justice must prevail over the national self interest of one party if we are serious about justice and peace.


Einstein Letter Condemning Massacres by Early Terrorist Israeli Organization

November 17, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Capture11-17-2009-4.40.31 PM Rare Einstein Letter the day after the Deir Yassin massacre to be auctioned on E-bay

Press Release from Daniel McGowan

Einstein condemns the Lohamei Herut Yisrael (Fighters for the Freedom of Israel).

When a real and final catastrophe should befall us in Palestine the first responsible for it would be the British and the second responsible for it the Terrorist organizations build [sic] up from our own ranks. 

I am not willing to see anybody associated with those misled and criminal people.

Kindly let others know of this auction, part of the proceeds of which will go for the support of DYR Scholarships.

Deir Yassin Remembered was founded in 1995 at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.  DYR works toward building a truth and reconciliation center at Deir Yassin.  We ask that you open your hearts and wallets and make a donation to Deir Yassin Remembered, a charitable and educational not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

Deir Yassin Remembered

c/o Daniel McGowan                                      or PayPal

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