Dr. Dhafir’s case is highlighted:

The human toll in the so-called “war on terror” has a much broader reach than the deaths of those who have died in Afghanistan and Iraq, the tortures, indefinite detentions and extraordinary renditions. The U.S. government is also responsible for human rights abuses throughout the U.S. You’ll recognize some of these from your own community, yet others you may never have heard about before. They are all connected by a single thread– repressive U.S. policies since 9/11. The Bill of Rights Defense Committee has been creating a Human Rights Abuse Database, with the stories of hundreds of individuals whose lives have been harshly affected or ruined entirely by U.S. government policies since 9/11.

The BORDC searchable Human Rights Abuse Database (HRAD) will be available in 2007. Until then, we plan to highlight one story per month in our newsletter. The following report comes to us via Katherine Hughes, a volunteer who has spent countless hours working to free Dr. Rafil Dhafir, a Muslim medical doctor living in New York who was arrested after creating a charity, “Help the Needy,” to distribute materials to relief networks in Iraq. Here is Katherine’s brief story about Dr. Dhafir. More can be found on her web site.

Target: Help the Needy

Dr. Rafil A. Dhafir, a man of Iraqi descent and Muslim faith, was arrested on February 26, 2003 as part of the “war on terror.” Despite finally being charged with only white-collar crimes, he was held without bail for 31 months and then sentenced to 22 years in jail. Denial of bail restricted access to his counsel, and this seriously hampered his ability to prepare for his defense. He was also denied access to his own records.

An oncologist, and founder of the charity Help the Needy (HTN), he has been a U.S. citizen for 30 years. He was a vociferous critic of the government policy of sanctions that killed half a million children under the age of five, and of the depleted uranium munitions that caused cancer rates in Iraq to skyrocket.

Seven government agencies investigated Dhafir for 5 years. He was arrested with other HTN associates in a high profile operation on February 26, 2003, just weeks before the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Eighty-five government agents spent the day at Dhafir’s house. Simultaneous to the arrests, between the hours of 6:00 and 10:00 a.m., 150 Muslim families who had donated to HTN were interrogated. This was one of the largest federal interrogations of Muslims in the United States and had a chilling effect on the local Muslim community.

A Muslim of Arab descent, Dhafir is the only person to face criminal charges for violation of the sanctions. Comparable violations have been addressed through civil fines.

Newsletter: http://www.bordc.org/newsletter/bordcnews5-7.php