Editor's Note: We received the following introduction and open letter to the Massachusetts Attorney General from a good friend and long time activist in Boston, Noah Cohen. - LMB
|Dr. Tarek Mehanna*, a 27 year old American-born Muslim Egyptian who has been a victim of FBI surveillance and harassment, in prison for refusing to serve the FBI as an informant against the Muslim community in Massachusetts.
On Friday, March 12, members of the Tarek Mehanna Support Committee attempted for the second time to meet with a representative of the Massachusetts US Attorney's office. Again we were told to fill out a complaint form--there was no one at the office who could speak to us. We asked whether it was the explicit policy of the new US Attorney not to meet with concerned members of the public. The "Administrative Specialist" insisted that this was not the policy of the office, but couldn't explain why our calls, faxes and our formal complaint remained unanswered.
This time we left a written statement and directed the administrative assistant to bring it to the attention of the US Attorney. We were told, once again, that someone would contact us on Monday.
Many of us had thought that the former Massachusetts US Attorney Michael Sullivan had set a low water mark for unresponsiveness to community concerns. It seems that the new holder of the office, Carmen Ortiz, may lower the bar still further.
We are releasing our statement as an open letter to the new US Attorney.
United States Attorney Carmen Ortiz
John Joseph Moakley
United States Federal Courthouse
1 Courthouse Way, Suite 9200
Boston, MA 02210
Friday, March 12, 2010
US Attorney Carmen Ortiz:
We are here representing the Tarek Mehanna Support Committee.
During the week of February 22 through February 26 we made numerous phone calls and sent faxes to Assistant Attorney Chakravarty to express strong community concerns in the case of Tarek Mehanna. Chakravarty appears to have dealt with these concerns by disabling his voicemail, routing calls to the voicemail of a secretary who never returned them. As you may have been informed, we sent a delegation to your office on Friday, February 26, to raise our concerns in person. We were instructed to fill out a complaint form with our contact information so that we could arrange an appointment with you. Since then, no one from your office has contacted us.
In our conversation with your administrative assistant, we expressed our belief that the unresponsiveness of your office to community concerns shows an arrogant contempt for the residents of Massachusetts. This contempt is especially egregious in light of the history of severe prosecutorial misconduct that has come to characterize the Massachusetts US Attorney's office from the time of Sullivan's leadership.
We are here again to demand that you take our concerns seriously.
We believe that Tarek Mehanna is the victim of FBI retaliation and severe institutional abuse of power because of his refusal to act as an informant for the FBI--a refusal that lies fully within his constitutionally protected rights. The FBI explicitly threatened Mr. Mehanna with this retaliation, saying that they would make his life a "living hell," by using false allegations of "terrorism" unless he agreed to act as an informant within the Muslim community.
These FBI threats and the decision of the US Attorney's office to carry them out are reminiscent of the criminal collaboration between Assistant US Attorney Jeffrey Auerhahn--also responsible for Mr. Mehanna's prosecution--and FBI Special Agent Michael Buckley, documented in the case Ferrara v. US.
|US Attorney Jeffrey Auerhahn, cocerced a witness, falsified evidence, withheld esculpatory evidence, committed pejury. Auerhahn is now being held for misconduct and faces suspension.
Auerhahn's record of conduct would merit not merely disbarment, but criminal sanctions. These practices include:
- Coercing a witness into giving false testimony (suborning perjury);
- Falsifying evidence;
- Withholding exculpatory evidence from defense
- Lying before the court (perjury).
US Attorney Michael Sullivan's failure to sanction Auerhahn for these practices in any meaningful way speaks of complicity in this criminal misconduct at the highest level of the Massachusetts office. As the allegations against Auerhahn came to light, rather than suspending Auerhahn, Sullivan transferred him from the Racketeering Unit to the Anti-Terrorism Unit, where he has continued in the same practices against another set of victims.
The criminal collaboration between Auerhahn and FBI agent Buckley requires that your office not only take action against Auerhahn, but reconsider those pending cases in which Auerhahn has been involved.
We believe that Tarek Mehanna is another innocent victim of illegal practices on the part of the FBI and the US Attorney's office. We strongly urge you, as the new leader of the Massachusetts US Attorney's Office, to break with this atrocious history.
The Tarek Mehanna Support Committee
Tarek Mehanna is a 27 year old American-born Muslim Egyptian. Highly educated, he holds a doctorate in pharmacy from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. He is a devout, tolerant Muslim who is not only respected in the local Islamic and interfaith communities, but who also gives back to his community by fulfilling the roles of brother, educator, mentor, scholar, and friend. Tarek is described by those who know him well as humble, reserved, warm, peaceful, charismatic, knowledgeable, and dedicated.
For several years Tarek has been a victim of FBI surveillance and harassment. When Tarek refused to backstab the Muslim community and be an informant for the FBI, they continually threatened him before taking an opportunity to arrest him in 2008. While Tarek was out on bail, FBI agents raided his home with an arrest warrant on October 21st, 2009.
Tarek was arrested again despite the lack of any new evidence since the prior apprehension. He is currently being held in solitary confinement, facing accusations of aiding and abetting terrorism. All of these FALSE charges have been fabricated by paid FBI informants. We ask you to join us to support our brother until he is released and home with his loving family.
Read more and support the campaign to free Tarek Mehanna at Free Terek Mehanna
(photos added by Axis of Logic)