Hasan Hasan is a Kuwati who was granted political asylum in the United States because of the repression he encountered while organizing for democracy in Kuwait.
His story here is nightmarish, and is just one example what is happening to many thousands of immigrants from Arab countries under the Patriot Act and the mad zealots of John Ashcroft.
In May 2002, Hasan was teaching math to a class in Southern California when the dean said he needed to see him. He went to the dean’s office, and a very nervous dean told Hasan that a secret order, he could not divulge from who, said that Hasan must be fired, and that he must leave the campus immediately.
Hasan, after being fired, walked out of the dean’s office where waiting INS agents immediately arrested him for violating his residency visa since he didn’t have a job – the job he was fired from minutes before by a secret order. In other words, it was a set-up arrest. And a bogus arrest, as INS regulations state there is a 60 day grace period to find a new job.
A few days later he spoke at a rally and called the US a ‘police state’. The following morning he was arrested by the FBI for – and I am not making this up – being a “self-proclaimed terrorist”. Um, I’ve heard more than a few speakers say things like that, sometimes much stronger, without being arrested for it. And just what IS a “self-proclaimed terrorist” anyway, and how does saying the US is a police state make you a terrorist? It’s all quite insane.
After many months, with the help of a lawyer who volunteered his time, a judge threw out the FBI arrest. The judge demanded the FBI produce evidence. The FBI claimed they couldn’t because of national security. The judge said tell me the evidence privately then. They refused. So the judge set Hasan free, slapping down the feds. One has to wonder if the FBI ever had any evidence at all.
Now, fourteen months later, Hasan’s final INS trial is this Monday in L.A. Yes, it’s still dragging on, with the INS refusing to honor their own rules, that of the 60 day grace period. They still want to throw him out of the country for no reason that I or anyone else sane can determine.
He’s already done several months in jail because of this, while waiting to be granted bail and have a trial date set. He says many immigrants like him are in jail awaiting trial. Even getting a court date or conditions for bail can be difficult. So they sit in jail for months on end.
They are being held, like he was, for no apparent reason by a paranoid vindictive government – precisely the kind of government he came here to escape from.
If you live in L.A., support Hasan
Monday July 7, 1 pm
INS Court House
606 S. Olive, 15th fl.
Update: 7/4. Hasan’s hearing has been postponed until Oct 7.