FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Amer Jubran, Free for Now

by DENNIS FOX

After more than two weeks detention by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Amer Jubran is out on bond. The INS hasn’t given up, though. In a few months they’ll try to deport him. In the meantime, the feds have again shown a determination to trample on civil liberties to harass nonviolent protestors.

Jubran is co-founder of a new organization that seeks a one-state Middle East solution, the New England Committee to Defend Palestine. But, as one member told me before the November 21st INS hearing, you don’t have to buy the Palestinian activist’s politics to recognize the injustice of his treatment. He also noted that he disagrees with almost everything I write about Israel and Palestine, apparently because we differ about whether transforming Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza into a single state is more realistic or less realistic than establishing two viable states. So I’m not as much a believer as NECDP might like.

But it’s also clear to me that Amer Jubran’s been railroaded.

The arrest came November 4th, two days after Jubran, a Jordanian citizen, led NECDP’s first march through downtown Boston. According to Jubran, INS and FBI agents showed up at his house without a warrant and told him if he answered questions about his political activities they’d soon be gone; otherwise, he’d suffer “indefinite detention.” When Jubran insisted on calling a lawyer, they hauled him to the Cranston, Rhode Island Adult Correctional Institution. Nelson Brill, Jubran’s immigration attorney, said an INS official hung up on him a few days later when he persisted in asking why INS refused to release Jubran on bail.

This wasn’t Jubran’s first confrontation with authorities. He made local news in 2001 when police arrested him for allegedly kicking a hostile passerby while demonstrating at Boston’s annual Israel Independence Day Festival, held in nearby Brookline. Witnesses claimed Brookline cops arrested the nonviolent Jubran after reneging on an agreement about demonstration logistics; then they pressured 60 protestors to leave the area. In the end, the evidence pointed not to Jubran’s guilt but to his victimization by authorities. After nine hearings and an international support campaign, the judge dismissed all charges.

After his Brookline exoneration, Jubran’s advocacy continued. He helped organize protests when Israeli troops moved into the West Bank last winter and spoke widely at demonstrations, college classes, and other events. Jubran’s personable, always-polite demeanor and his meticulous efforts to cooperate with authorities to ensure nonviolent protest made it difficult for the authorities to clamp down on his political advocacy.

Until November.

According to attorney Brill, the current INS case is as fishy as the “patently illegal” arrest’s timing and process. Once Brill finally got Jubran a bond hearing, INS lawyer John DeAngelo pointed to two issues related to the validity of Jubran’s past marriage.

First, INS says the 33 year-old Rhode Island resident lied when he filed for residency and said he married a US citizen in 1997; INS says that marriage certificate wasn’t valid. In May 1998, when INS informed Jubran he wasn’t legally married, he and his wife obtained a new certificate. According to Brill, the confusion stems from poor advice from Jubran’s Boston attorney at the time, who wasn’t familiar with Rhode Island marriage law. It does look like Jubran believed he got married in 1997, as he indicated on his 1997 tax return.

The government’s second issue stems from Jubran’s filing for divorce in February 2000. Since that’s less than two years after the May 1998 date INS insists on using, and less than half a year after receiving his green card, INS claims Jubran’s marriage was fraudulent.

At the bond hearing, Judge Leonard Shapiro implied the first issue wasn’t all that serious, noting he’s seen many examples of technically deficient marital documents.

But he agreed the government can presume the marriage was a fraud. So when the case proceeds, Jubran will have to prove it was legitimate. His ex-wife, now living in South Carolina, told Brill she’ll testify the marriage was for real. But she’s been spooked ever since the FBI showed up at her house two months ago. It doesn’t help that the FBI told Jubran his refusal to answer their questions could hurt his ex-wife.

In the end, with surprising lack of objection by the INS lawyer after refusing for 17 days to let Jubran go, Judge Shapiro released Jubran on the minimum possible $1500 bond. He didn’t even wait to hear from those who came to testify that Jubran was neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community. Brill just summarized the evidence about Jubran’s residential stability (five years in one apartment), job status (his Cambridge College supervisor is holding open his Admissions Office job), lack of criminal convictions (the judge was pleased Jubran didn’t flee when released on bond in Brookline a year earlier), and other community ties. The judge no doubt knew some 75 supporters had come to pack the courtroom, though most couldn’t fit inside.

Amer Jubran also knew. Looking back at the few the six armed cops let squeeze inside, he smiled cautiously. He was worn out, pale, still shackled uncomfortably. But as soon as he was released he made it clear his political work will continue.

Although attorney Brill hopes things don’t get that far, he says Jubran has a good case for political asylum if INS invalidates his green card. In the meantime, the defense committee hopes an international support campaign will force INS to drop the case.

Regardless of the outcome for Amer Jubran, government repression continues, enhanced by the USA PATRIOT Act and other new surveillance and detention powers. Brill talks of other clients arrested without cause, from Brazil, West Africa, Vietnam. He reminds us that the government is sending a message to all activists, not just those from the Middle East: Stop what you’re doing, or we’ll go through your file, too.

DENNIS FOX, on leave from his position as associate professor of legal studies and psychology at the University of Illinois at Springfield, lives in Brookline, Massachusetts. He is co-editor of “Critical Psychology: An Introduction” and co-founder of RadPsyNet: The Radical Psychology Network. His commentaries and essays are posted at http://www.dennisfox.net; he can be reached at df@dennisfox.net.

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
Stratos Ramoglou
Why the Greek Economic Crisis Won’t be Ending Anytime Soon
David Price
The 2016 Tour of California: Notes on a Big Pharma Bike Race
Dmitry Mickiewicz
Barbarous Deforestation in Western Ukraine
Rev. William Alberts
The United Methodist Church Up to Its Old Trick: Kicking the Can of Real Inclusion Down the Road
Patrick Bond
Imperialism’s Junior Partners
Mark Hand
The Trouble with Fracking Fiction
Priti Gulati Cox
Broken Green: Two Years of Modi
Marc Levy
Sitrep: Hometown Unwelcomes Vietnam Vets
Lorenzo Raymond
Why Nonviolent Civil Resistance Doesn’t Work (Unless You Have Lots of Bombs)
Ed Kemmick
New Book Full of Amazing Montana Women
Michael Dickinson
Bye Bye Legal High in Backwards Britain
Missy Comley Beattie
Wanted: Daddy or Mommy in Chief
Ed Meek
The Republic of Fear
Charles R. Larson
Russian Women, Then and Now
David Yearsley
Elgar’s Hegemony: the Pomp of Empire
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail