Below is a link to a January 2007 radio interview of Katherine Hughes, court watcher in the Help the Needy Muslim charity case. Hughes was one of a core group of about 12 court watchers, several of whom attended almost all of the 17-week trial – from October 2004 to February 2005. Please ask your local radio station to air the 30-minute interview.

THE CASE: Dr. Rafil Dhafir an Upstate New York oncologist, Muslim of Iraqi descent, and founder of the charity Help the Needy, was arrested in February 2003. He was then held without bail for 31 months and denied access to his own records and counsel, before being sentenced to 22 years in prison for a crime he was never charged with in a court of law. Despite the fact he was tried for only white collar crime the government, in their sentencing statement, used the fact that he had volunteered with Doctors Without Borders in Afghanistan and Pakistan during the 1980s to sentence him as a “terrorist.”

Dhafir was recently moved to Terre Haute, Indiana, with other mostly Arab and Muslim men as part of a new program ordered by the Attorney General. The program is called “Communication Management Unit” and prisoners in this program are held separate from the general prison population. A letter from Dhafir dated December 18th, 2006 told about his move to Terre Haute, but there has been no mail from him since then.

Marianne Barisonek of KBOO Portland, Oregon conducted the interview, it is available: HERE The interview was given before we were aware of the restictive conditions for correspondence that Dr. Dhafir is now being held under.

CORRECTION: In this interview, from memory, I gave the incorrect amount of depleted uranium dropped on Iraq during the Gulf War. The correct number is 300 tons and that half-life of depleted uranium is 4.5 billion years. For more informaton see this BBC report: Depleted Uranium Weapons — a BBC investigation by Angus Stickler

Marianne Barisonek has given permission for this interview to be played wherever we can get it aired.