Ask The Attorney General to Remove The Special Administrative Measures for Fahad Hashmi

The trial date for Hashmi’s case has now been postponed until the spring of 2009. Hashmi’s attorney, Sean Maher, was finally given clearance to see the classified evidence the prosecution intends to present against Hashmi. Maher is forbidden to discuss this evidence with anyone, including Hashmi. Maher’s law partner Khurrum Walid, who is helping Maher litigate this case, only received clearance this week. The prosecution has described this evidence as “voluminous,” yet only Maher, up to this point, has been able to examine it.

Because of the Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) imposed upon Hashmi (more on this below), Maher is also forbidden to discuss his conversations with Hashmi with outside experts. Hashmi’s right to counsel — and a fair trial — is thus being hampered in two ways: by the secrecy of the evidence and by the SAMs.

Judge Preska is presiding over the case. She was appointed to the federal bench by President George H.W. Bush. She has frequently been mentioned as one of the current president’s possible Supreme Court nominees. She has refused to entertain objections from Maher about the SAMs and the rules of secrecy. She also refused to allow Hashmi out on bail: even though his family raised $500,000 from the community to post bail for him, Preska insisted that he had insufficient community and family ties and thus posed a flight risk.

550 scholars, artists, and writers — including Henry Louis Gates, Noam Chomsky, Judith Butler, Angela Davis, Eric Foner, Tony Judt, Susan Faludi, David Cole, and many more — joined you in signing the petition. It was sent to the Attorney General, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the entire congressional delegation for New York, and other local and state officials in New York. Kathleen M. Kenney of the Justice Department responded on July 31, claiming that the petition’s signatories could “rest assured that any issue brought to our attention by Mr. Hashmi or his attorney(s) is addressed in a timely fashion.”

The news media has picked up on our campaign. The Chronicle of Higher Education published a lengthy feature on the campaign, which we attach here, and it was profiled in the New York Daily News and on Pacifica radio station. Journalists at other media outlets have expressed continuing interest, and we expect to place additional stories in the near future.

Right now, though, we are asking you take a small but important step to help alleviate the draconian conditions of Mr. Hashmi’s confinement. As you might recall, the Attorney General imposed the SAMs on Hashmi in October 2007. They threaten his mental health and ability to get a fair trial. (For more details on the SAMs, go to

The SAMs are up for review by Attorney General Michael Mukasey in October. We are asking you to send an email to Mukasey and to Michael Garcia, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, asking them to lift the SAMs. To send the email, go to

We also ask that you circulate the attached description of the Hashmi case and conditions of Hashmi’s confinement, and urge friends, students, and colleagues to join in our campaign to lift the SAMs.


Corey Robin and Jeanne Theoharis
Educators for Civil Liberties