US judge orders Palestinian freed

On July 27, US District Court Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr. of Los Angeles ordered the government to free Southern California Muslim community leader Abdel-Jabbar Hamdan, a Palestinian who has spent two years detained on an immigration violation. Department of Justice lawyers responded to the judge’s order by filing a last-minute motion on July 28, seeking an emergency stay and claiming that Hamdan is a danger to the public and that he might flee while his deportation case is pending in the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Hatter denied the request the same day, but it was unclear when Hamdan would actually be released from the Terminal Island detention center where he has been held since his arrest on July 28, 2004.

His attorney, Ranjana Natarajan of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in Los Angeles were supposed to draw up conditions of a supervised release. “The judge clearly said the government has no business detaining him,” said Natarajan. Hamdan’s daughter, Yaman Hamdan, said her family was afraid that the government could still find a way to keep her father locked up.

The government had never charged Hamdan with a crime, but alleged in immigration proceedings that he was linked to terrorism because of his former job as a fundraiser for the Holy Land Foundation, a Dallas, Texas-based charity which allegedly channeled funds to the Palestinian armed group Hamas. (Los Angeles Times, July 29)

From Immigration News Briefs, July 30

See our last posts on the Hamdan case, immigration crackdown and other Palestinian deportation cases.