Fahad Hashmi Pleads Guilty on Eve of Trial
Accused al-Qaeda terror suspect Fahad Hashmi, extradited from the UK in 2007 and held in solitary at MCC in Manhattan for three years pleaded guilty today to one count of providing material support to terrorists. Both sides agreed to a sentence of 15 years. three other counts were dropped. Hashmim would have faced a maximum of 70 years if convicted on all counts.
Hashmi is a 30-year-old U.S. citizen who was born in Pakistan; grew up in Flushing, Queens, where his family still lives; and received his B.A. from Brooklyn College and his master's from London Metropolitan University. At Brooklyn College, in 2002, Hashmi was a student of mine in a seminar on civil rights. [More...]
A critic of U.S. foreign policy and its treatment of Muslims, he held the rather optimistic view that you could change people's minds by talking and arguing with them. He could often be found in the hall before and after class debating other students. For my seminar, he wrote a research paper on the abridgement of the civil liberties of Muslim-American groups in the United States after 9/11. Now it is his rights that have been violated.
Hashmi's torture didn't end when he arrived in the U.S. The conditions he was housed in at MCC were abominable.
If the Constitution prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, what is the impact of forced isolation? Medical testimony presented in his case in federal court concluded that after 60 days in solitary people's mental state begins to break down. That means a person will start to experience panic, anxiety, confusion, headaches, heart palpitations, sleep problems, withdrawal, anger, depression, despair, and over-sensitivity. Over time this can lead to severe psychiatric trauma and harms like psychosis, distortion of reality, hallucinations, mass anxiety and acute confusion. Essentially, the mind disintegrates.
That is why, under international standards for human rights, extended isolation is considered a form of torture and is banned. The conditions and practices of isolation are in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the U.N. Convention against Torture, and the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
|< Tuesday Night Open Thread | Wednesday Open Thread >|