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Detainee Letter

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 02021471 (posted Feb. 14, 2002)"

Cite as “Posted on AILA InfoNet, Doc. No. 02021471
(February 14, 2002 ).”

Detainee Letter

(The following is a letter from Mr. Rabih Haddad, who is being detained in INS custody (no criminal charges) in Chicago in connection with the designation of his organization, Global Relief, as an organization that supports terrorism.  Global Relief is challenging the designation in court. Haddad's hearing is one which Congressman Conyers was barred from under the Judge Creppy "closed hearing" procedures.  Conyers and ACLU and Detroit News and Detroit Free Press have filed suit in Detroit challenging the Creppy order re closed hearings.)


Jan. 27, 2002

Dear Mr. Thayer,

Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful letter of Jan. 22.  I do greatly appreciate your interest and efforts for my release.  Please extend my regards and gratitude to all members of CCAWR Coalition Against War & Racism.

I am sorry to say that I was not able to see the protests because the window in my cell is "Whited out" to allow light in but not for me to see anything out. I was able, however, to hear about it from other inmates who own small radios and heard it on the news.

Allow me to take this opportunity to bring you slightly into my world here at MCC Chicago.  I am in a 6' x 9' solitary cell that seems to have been designed for extremely violent or extremely troublesome inmates.  The bed is situated in the center of the room with about a foot and a half on either side of it to the wall.  The bed is a metal slab with four legs bolted to the floor and fitted on all four corners with special fittings to hold straps if it should become necessary.

I have a camera fixed on me right outside my door that has completely deprived me of any kind of privacy since that door has a small window which allows them to check and see if I'm still there around the clock. It's for my safety, they say.

I am allowed one 15 minute call to my family every 30 days. My food is handed to me through a slit in the door 2-1/2" x 12".  The same opening is used to put the cuffs on me before the door is opened for any reason.  I am allowed 3 showers a week for which I have to be cuffed to walk 10 paces to the shower that has a door similar to my cell's door.  I'm only un-cuffed after I'm inside and the door is locked.

Also get 1 hour of recreation 5 days a week, and what a joke that is.  I am led, cuffed, from my cell to a cage (literally) just down the hall which is the same size as my cell.  In it is a homemade stationary bicycle that has no resistance and thus is worthless for exercising.  I have to wait until the cage is empty because I cannot be put in there with anyone else, for my own safety, they say.

I have made numerous pleas to the warden and others to let me speak with my family once a week, but my pleas have fallen on deaf ears.  I have been under these conditions for the past month and a half, which can drive a person to the extreme limits of his/her mental, emotional, and psychological capabilities.

Where do we draw the line between justice and oppression? Between prosecution and persecution? Is due process supposed to serve society or is society supposed to be enslaved by "due process"? Many people on this side of the fence, I'm sorry to say, have become Pavlovic dogs of sorts when it comes to "due process." I have been treated like the worst criminal you can imagine when I have not even been charged with a crime, save overstaying my visa, which I was in the process of remedying.

All of this has done nothing but harden my will and strengthened my resolve to overcome and persevere.  Your efforts and the efforts of others are like torches of hope that light my way in this deep and dark tunnel that I've entered and I am eternally grateful for that.

Please convey my warmest greetings and thanks to all those who planned, participated or supported your efforts.  May God bless you all.


Rabih Haddad

P.S.   Please forgive my spelling.  I did not realize how dependant I've become on my computer's spell-check until now.

P.S.2   I forgot to mention the waves of cockroaches that invade the cell at night and crawl all over everything, including me.

Rabih Haddad
Metropolitan Correctional Center
71 W. Van Buren Street
Chicago, IL  60605