Katherine: Below are letters to the Syracuse Post-Standard sent on the occasion of the sixth anniversary of Dr. Rafil Dhafir’s arrest. I will add more letters to this post as people send them to me.

To the editor:

Dr. Rafil Dhafir, a respected oncologist, is now in his 6th year of a 22-year sentence, never even having been granted bail for white-collar crime and breaking the sanctions on Iraq. These sanctions caused the death of 1.4 million people. Dr Dhafir provided food and medicine to alleviate deaths from polluted water and starvation in a country where we had destroyed the water purification and sewage treatment plants. According to the government, Dr. Dhafir donated $1.25 million of his own money over the years. He is incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana in a unit which severely restricts his contact with the outside world.

In contrast Oscar Wyatt, a Texas oil billionaire, finished his one year sentence in November of 2008 for conspiring to funnel illegal kickbacks to Saddam Hussein’s regime, wire fraud, and violating U.S. laws governing dealings with Iraq during the Oil for Food program. Mr. Wyatt pleaded guilty to paying $200,000 dollars in kickbacks to officials in the regime. He was accused of funneling millions of dollars of kickbacks through front companies to Saddam Hussein’s regime. Prosecutors said Mr. Wyatt imposed on a close relationship with Saddam Hussein to obtain the first contract under the Oil for Food program, and to continue getting lucrative oil deals after other American companies were shut out prior to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Mr. Wyatt’s sentence was ameliorated by time spent in a half-way house followed by home confinement.

Bob Elmendorf
Malden Bridge, NY

See Denis Halliday’s letter to the Post-Standard last year, “Do we want Dhafir’s justice to be America’s?”