Red Sahar – Save Sahar!

Update: A judge has decided Sahar should stay in The Netherlands, and the UN has said she should be considered to be a refugee. (Jan 18, 2011)

Petition for Sahar, a 14 year old girl who is likely to be deported from The Netherlands to Afghanistan. She left Afghanistan at age 3 and does not remember it, nor can she speak the language. She is a student at the gymnasium, the highest form of highschool in The Netherlands, and she plans to become a surgeon. But if she is deported to Afghanistan, where girls can barely attend school, this is unlikely to happen.

Please sign this petition (you have to confirm your signature by clicking on a link sent to you in an email) you can help put up the pressure on the Dutch immigration institution IND to stop the deportation of Sahar. (plz bear with the petition website, it may be over-visited).

Please sign HERE
, thank you!!

Sahar is een 14 jarig meisje uit Afghanistan. Ze heeft Afghanistan op haar 3e jaar verlaten en heeft geen herinneringen aan dat land. Ze is op het eerste gezicht een heel normaal Nederlands meisje dat hard werkt en veel vriendinnen heeft. Ze is zo ingeburgerd in de Nederlandse samenleving dat ze niet eens Dari (de Afghaanse taal) kan schrijven of lezen. Ze volgt hier gymnasium in Leeuwarden want ze wil chirurg worden. Maar nu moet ze als het aan de Immigratie en Naturalisatie Dienst ligt weg en terug naar Afghanistan, een land dat voor ambitieuze westerse meisjes niet bepaald hoopvol of veilig is. Help haar door deze petitie te tekenen.

Wikileaks: Numerous Reasons to Dismiss US Claims that “Ghost Prisoner” Aafia Siddiqui Was Not Held in Bagram

From: Andy Worthington
Exclusive to the Justice for Aafia Coalition

3.12.10

In sifting through the avalanche of US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks, only the Guardian, in the Western media, has picked up on cables from Islamabad relating to the case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, the Pakistani neuroscientist who disappeared with her three young children in Karachi on March 30, 2003, and did not reappear until July 17, 2008, in Ghazni, Afghanistan, where she was reportedly arrested by Afghan forces for acting strangely, allegedly carrying a bag that contained a list of US targets for terrorist attacks as well as bomb-making instructions and assorted chemicals. When US soldiers turned up, Dr. Siddiqui then reportedly seized a gun and shot at them. Although she failed to hit her targets, at point-blank range, she was herself shot twice in the abdomen, and was then rendered to the United States, where she was put on trial for attempted murder, and was convicted and given an 86-year prison sentence in September this year.

Dr. Siddiqui’s supporters, and many commentators — myself included — who have examined her story have, for many years, had reason to doubt the official narrative about her capture in 2008, and her whereabouts for the previous five years.

While both the Pakistani and US authorities repeatedly denied that Dr. Siddiqui was in their custody between 2003 and 2008, and this is reiterated in one of the cables released by Wikileaks, in which US diplomats in Pakistan stated that “Bagram officials have assured us that they have not been holding Siddiqui for the last four years, as has been alleged,” several former prisoners — and one still held — have stated that they saw her in Bagram. The following exchange is an excerpt from an interview conducted by former prisoner Moazzam Begg with Binyam Mohamed, the British resident who was subjected to torture in Pakistan, Morocco and Afghanistan, after his release from Guantánamo in February 2009:

Moazzam Begg: When you were in the Bagram Detention Facility after being held in the “Dark Prison,” you came across a female prisoner. Can you describe a little bit about who you think she is and what you saw of her?
  
Binyam Mohamed: In Bagram, I did come across a female who wore a shirt with the number of “650,” and I saw her several times, and I heard a lot of stories about her from the guards and the other prisoners over there.

 Moazzam Begg: And these stories said what about her, in terms of her description and her background?

 Binyam Mohamed: What we were told first … we were frightened by the guards not to communicate with her, because they feared that we would talk to her and we would know who she was. So they told us that she was a spy from Pakistan, working with the government, and the Americans brought her to Bagram.

 Moazzam Begg: So you think they spread the rumour that she was a spy … that would have kept you away from her and apprehensive towards her?

 Binyam Mohamed: Basically, nobody talked to her in the facility, and she was held in isolation, where … she was only brought out to the main facility just to use the toilet. But all I knew about her was that she was from Pakistan, and that she had studied, or she had lived in America. And the guards would talk a lot about her, and I did actually see her picture when I was here a few weeks ago, and I would say she’s the very person I saw in Bagram.

 Moazzam Begg: And that’s the very picture I showed you of Aafia Siddiqui?

 Binyam Mohamed: That’s the very picture I saw.

 Moazzam Begg: There have been all sorts of rumours about what happened to her — and may Allah free her soon — but part of those rumours include her being terribly abused. Do you have any knowledge of what abuse she might have faced?

 Binyam Mohamed: Apart from her being in isolation — and the fact that I saw, when she was walking up and down, I could tell that she was severely disturbed — I don’t think she was in her right mind — literally, I don’t think she was sane — and I didn’t feel anything at that time, because, as far as I was concerned, she was a hypocrite working with the other governments. But had we known that she was a sister, I don’t think we would have been silent. I think there would have been a lot of maybe even riots in Bagram.

In March 2010, at a rally organized by the Justice for Aafia Coalition, former Guantánamo prisoner Omar Deghayes stated that, as well as Binyam Mohamed, Hassan bin Attash (a former child prisoner who is still held in Guantánamo) and Dr. Ghairat Baheer (a former “ghost prisoner” held in various secret prisons in Afghanistan) also described seeing Aafia Siddiqui in Bagram. Omar said, “They told me how she cried and sobbed, how she screamed and cried and banged her head, in despair and sorrow.”

Please read the rest of the article here.

Please write to Aafia at Carswell, not only to let her know that she has not been forgotten, but also because the most effective way to ensure that abusers think twice about their abuse is when they know that the outside world is watching — and is watching in large numbers. The address for the prison is here, and if you’re interested, I urge you to take advantage of the Justice for Aafia Coalition’s pre-printed cards, available here, which can easily be distributed to friends and family.

From Andy Worthington´s website Published exclusively on the Aafya Siddiqui website

Asylum Seekers Imprisoned in Australia

by Lauren Markham, May 30, 2010 10:14 AM (PT)
http://immigration.change.org/blog/view/asylum_seekers_imprisoned_in_australia
On April 9th, in an oh-so-sympathetic response to an influx of “boat people” arriving on its shores, Australia put a moratorium on all new asylum claims from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. The Australian government has even arranged for special accommodations for these people fleeing horrific violence in their home country: in isolated detention centers on Christmas Island and at former air force bases where they receive scant, if any, of the services (medical, psychological) that they need.

Basically, these asylum-seekers are in prison.

Afghanistan and Sri Lanka are both countries plagued by civil wars and, if you look at the map, not exactly neighbors to Australia. The perilous journey across rough waters in a small vessel doesn’t sound like a trip one would take by choice — it sounds like a last ditch effort to find the protection guaranteed by international law.

But apparently the Australian government doesn’t give a flip about international refugee law. As it now stands, asylum seekers from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan can no longer even plead their case before an asylum officer until the government lifts its April 9th suspension. Australia just doesn’t want them. This selective denial of asylum protection is inhumane, bigoted, and down-right criminal.

Australia says that this new policy is an attempt to deter what has become a rising number of asylum-seekers coming to Australia. They’ve used other lovely deterrent tactics, too. As Clara Long reports on Change.org’s Human Rights blog, Australia has even dragged boatloads of asylum-seekers from Sri Lanka to dump them off at detention centers in Indonesia. Really, Australia? People are not trash to be offloaded on distant shores or loaded into landfills on Christmas Island.

In its 2010 State of The World’s Human Rights, released this week, Amnesty International chastised Australia for its alarming human rights policies, and rightfully so. If it’s Australia’s duty to protect the victims of abuse in their own countries, it is the duty of every one of us to put the pressure on Australia to get with the program.

Petition: Tell Australia to End Suspension of Sri Lankan and Afghan Asylum Claims