Thu 29 Jan 2009
Crime of Compassion: A Court Watcher’s Story of the ‘War on Terror’
In the aftermath of 9/11, the U.S. government flailed about, seeing “terror cells” everywhere. It targeted for prosecution many prominent Muslims across the country, particularly those associated with Muslim charity. Dr. Rafil Dhafir is one of these people. He was held without bail for 31 months and then sentenced to 22 years in a U.S. prison for a crime he was never charged with in a court of law — money laundering to help terrorist organizations. His real crime was speaking out against the U.S. and U.K.-sponsored UN sanctions on Iraq and sending aid to starving Iraqi civilians during the brutal embargo.
In Syracuse, New York, where he was tried, art student Katherine Hughes took a leave from her studies in order to witness his trial. Her passion for the preservation of civil liberties was ignited 36 years ago when she saw a documentary of the Allies going into the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen. Since then she has known that if anything similar happened in her lifetime she didn’t want to be a bystander.
One of a dozen people who volunteered as Court Watchers for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Hughes attended the 17-week trial and took notes for 5 hours each day. Dismayed by what she witnessed in the courtroom and the uncritical coverage in the local newspaper, she has dedicated the last 10 years to seeking justice for Dr. Dhafir.
This film is the story of the terrible cost of one man’s humanitarian outreach, and one woman’s efforts to shed light on how the U.S. government so thoroughly perverted a system of justice it purports to uphold.
I have all the footage for this film and now need to raise money to pay a skilled professional to put it together. If you would like to help, you can make a contribution by wire transfer, check or money order. Mail to:
Bob Elmendorf, Dr. Dhafir Support Committee, P.O. Box 76, Malden Bridge, NY 12115
Please make checks payable to: Dr. Dhafir Support Committee, with “Documentary” in the subject line. Please note these donations are not tax-deductible.
In these difficult economic times not everyone has cash to spare, but you can still help by letting others know about the case.