Help Free Palestinian-American Maher (Mike) Hawash
On Thursday, March 20, 2003, our friend and colleague Maher (Mike) Hawash was arrested ("detained") as a "material witness" by the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force in the parking lot of Intel Corp's Hawthorne Farms parking lot. Simultaneously, FBI agents in bulletproof vests and carrying assault rifles awoke Mike's wife Lisa and their three children in the home, which they proceeded to search. Since then, Mike has been held in the Federal Prison at Sheridan, OR.
Here are some facts:
a.. Mike is a U.S. citizen, is held without being charged with any crime;
b.. Mike is being held in solitary confinement, with limited access to his lawyers and wife, and no access to his children;
c.. Mike is being held as a material witness, but he has not been interrogated by the federal authorities;
d.. Mike has been a U.S. citizen and resident for 14 years. He is of middle-eastern descent, though his wife and children were all born andraised in the U.S.;
e.. The warrants and subpoenas in Mike's case are all secret, sealed by the court at the U.S. government's request;
f.. Mike has a job, a home, a family, and deep roots in his community. Historically, "material witness" arrests were solely for grand-jury or trial witnesses who were either a "flight risk" or represented a "danger" to th community. The U.S. has held other middle-eastern men for as long as 15 months without charge as "material witnesses";
What you can do:
a.. Write your Congressmen! Write to your U.S. Senators and Representative. Most have webmail forms on their congressional websites, and all have their postal addresses on their sites. Here is one letter that has been sent.
Go to www.senate.gov to find your Senators, and www.house.gov to find your U.S. Representatives. If you live in Oregon, your Senators are Senator Wyden and Senator Smith. Your U.S. Representative may be one of: Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio, Darlene Hooley, Gregory Walden, and David Wu.
a.. Donate to Mike and Lisa's Legal Defense Fund! We're in the process of setting up a way of making online donations. In the meantime, you can mail a check to:
Free Mike Hawash
c/o S. McGeady
2229 NE Thompson St.
Portland, OR 97212
If you're wondering who S. McGeady is, and if this is legit, check here (http://www.freemikehawash.org/hostmaster.htm) or here (http://www.mcgeady.com/mcg/prof/mcgbio.htm). Any donations not needed will be returned. No donations will be used for anything other than Mike and Lisa's legal defense.
a.. Tell your Friends! Encourage others who may not know Mike to think about what this means to them, their families, and their civil liberties. Visit the "Free Mike Hawash" website at www.FreeMikeHawash.org.