Indefinite detention prompts a hunger strike
June 7, 2002 | Page 4
Dear Socialist Worker,
The U.S. government is taking a page out of the Israeli government's book when it comes to the brutal detentions of Palestinians. Jamal Saleem, a Palestinian who has been held for the last eight months at the Passaic County Jail in Patterson, N.J., has gone on a hunger strike in an attempt to win humane treatment and justice from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).
The 40-year-old Saleem was arrested in October for overstaying his visa. In November, he was ordered deported--but was told that he couldn't be deported since his country was at war. The INS "solution" has been to hold him indefinitely.
Saleem's family in Palestine has had no income without him. Meanwhile, he is in excruciating pain from a degenerative back ailment that his jailers refuse to treat.
He began his hunger strike on May 9, demanding that he be brought before a judge so that he can either be released or offered bail; that he receive medical treatment for his back ailment; and that the plight of his family--deprived of its sole breadwinner--be considered in his case.
In addition, Saleem has declared that his hunger strike is a protest against the detention of hundreds of Arab, Muslim and South Asian immigrants without due process, access to a lawyer, proper medical care and under conditions of verbal and physical abuse.
The day after he began his hunger strike, Saleem was given a court date and received treatment for his back. But when he was brought to the INS building in Newark, an INS agent tried to force-feed him. Saleem refused. He was returned immediately to jail and has yet to receive a new hearing.
Wade Savitt, New York City
To find out about Saleem's case and the Stop the Disappearances campaign, contact DRUM (Desis Rising Up and Moving) at 718-832-6243 or e-mail [email protected]