Protesting Fahad’s detention

October 22, 2009

NEW YORK--Approximately 50 activists gathered on October 19 outside the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Lower Manhattan for the first in a weekly series of vigils to support Fahad Hashmi, a U.S. citizen who has been unconstitutionally held for more than two years, without a conviction, in solitary confinement by the government.

The vigil was organized by Theaters Against War (THAW) as a set of performances to draw attention to Fahad's inhumane detention. Staged as a pirate radio performance, the vigil's format was conceived to exhibit that Fahad has been denied a radio as a rule of his detention. In another performance, author and actor Wallace Shawn read news from September 19, 2009, to show how Fahad is allowed only news older than 30 days.

Other performances brought attention to the erosion of civil rights brought on by the "war on terror." In a re-enactment of court proceedings, activists were shown how "Special Administrative Measures" are being deployed to undermine the constitutional rights of a speedy trial where one is assumed innocent until proven guilty.

In addition to THAW, members of Fahad's family and friends were also present. One of his friends argued for the need to build a movement that goes further than just Fahad's case and brings justice to all those detained in similar cases.

The next court date will be October 30 at the United States District Court at 500 Pearl St. in New York City. Fahad's trial will begin a month later on November 30. THAW will be holding vigils every Monday outside the MCC in support.

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