Government Steps Up Repression of Rabih Haddad

Please call US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald -- 312.353.5300 -- to protest!

The imprisonment of Rabih Haddad has garnered national attention as demonstrating the federal government's contempt for the Bill of Rights so far as immigrants are concerned.  Haddad has been held without charges for over a month.  The government has steadfastly refused to produce a shred of evidence against him and denied him bail, even though as a long-term resident with a wife and four kids who were applying for permanent residency, he hardly represented a flight risk.

Haddad's wife, Salma Al-Rashaid, has emerged as a leader in her own right during the fight to secure justice for her husband.  Now, in a transparent attempt at political retaliation, the feds recently began steps to deport Salma and three of their four children, ages 3-1/2 to 12 years old.  After returning home from a Chicago rally at the federal detention center at which she was the keynote speaker, Salma found letters from the INS announcing the deportation proceedings.  Tragically, given that Al-Rashaid is a Kuwaiti national and her husband is from Lebanon, the deportation order threatens to permanently break up the family.

The Emergency Response Committee of the Chicago Coalition Against War & Racism is calling on all who believe in justice to call US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald - 312.353.5300.  Please demand that he release Haddad immediately and stop the deportation proceedings.


On December 14 Police arrested Haddad, an assistant Imam at the Ann Arbor Mosque with a masters degree in mechanical engineering, at his Ann Arbor home for alleged 'visa violations.' Haddad was in the process of applying for permanent residency. The INS has closed hearings on Haddad's status on the grounds of national security and refused to set bond in his case.

His detention by the INS in Michigan and his subsequent transfer last Thursday to Chicago's Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) has drawn national attention - and opposition from civil liberties advocates throughout the country.  Ann Arbor residents and two members of Congress, Lynn Rivers (D-Ann Arbor) and John Conyers (D-Detroit), have vigorously opposed the Lebanese native's detainment, and this month the Ann Arbor City Council and the Michigan Student Assembly passed resolutions supporting Haddad's right to a fair trial.

Melinda Power of the National Lawyers' Guild condemned both Haddad's transfer from a Michigan facility near his family and his detention at the MCC. "His incarceration is a gross violation of due process and civil liberties, and an example of the kind of dangerous excess the government continues to commit under the name of the 'war on terrorism.' The legislation the government uses to justify these attacks, including the PATRIOT Act, threatens the basic freedoms of all of us, and must be opposed."

Haddad has reportedly been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury in Chicago, in a move believed related to prosecutors' efforts to add criminal charges to financial sanctions against two Muslim charities with Chicago offices, Benevolence International and the Global Relief Foundation, which Haddad cofounded in 1992. Authorities froze the groups' assets in December for allegedly funneling money to al Qaeda, a charge flatly denied by Haddad's attorneys and the charities. While the U.S. attorney's office has refused to comment on Haddad's status - and has produced no evidence against either Haddad or Global Relief - Haddad's supporters charge that he has been targeted as part of a federal witch-hunt that is employing new legislation in the wake of September 11 that scapegoats immigrants and thwarts due process.

To contact the Chicago Coalition Against War & Racism (CAWR), please call 312.458.9559 and leave a message.  To get updates on current actions, please call that same number and listen to the out-going message.  Also, please subscribe to our emergency response e-mail list by writing, and visit our web page at