Petition Tag - due process

1. Free US Citizen Zack Shahin, Imprisoned in Dubai 6 Year Without Upheld Conviction

Zack Shahin, 49, is the former CEO of Dubai-based Deyaar realty. In the span of a few short years, Shahin successfully converted this small cap development business into a multi-billion dollar global competitor in the commercial and residential real estate market. An American citizen, Shahin is married and the father of two.

Before the financial crisis struck global economies, both large and small, Zack Shahin, former CEO of Deyaar Realty, successfully converted this small cap development business into a multi-billion dollar global competitor in the commercial and residential real estate market. However, when markets began to feel the effect of such downturn, the highly successful career of Shahin, a U.S. citizen working in the Middle East, came to an abrupt end following his arrest and detention by Dubai security services on March 23, 2008. Amid allegations of corruption against various directors and officers of Deyaar, Shahin has been wrongly singled out as having participated in draining the company of equity.

He has been imprisoned without trial by the Dubai Government under inhumane conditions for over six years suffering violations of his due process rights under the laws of Dubai. Although various charges have been filed, no resolution of any of them has taken place. Some cases have even been dismissed on the eve before trial, just when Shahin was about to present his defense to the claims against him.

Shahin’s mistreatment has been raised by the highest levels of the U.S. Government, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder, during bilateral discussions with top U.A.E. officials. During Secretary Clinton’s meeting with her U.A.E. counterpart, Foreign Minister Abdullah Bin Zayed, she addressed how Emiratis accused of comparable crimes have been treated far more leniently than Shahin. These U.S. Government concerns have been raised by the U.S. Ambassador and Consul General during multiple meetings and phone calls with U.A.E. law enforcement officials as well. Still, nothing has changed, Shahin’s due process rights continue to be violated, and no end to his suffering is in sight.

Prior to becoming CEO of Deyaar Development, Shahin was retail vice president and head of sales for service and distribution at MashreqBank in United Arab Emirates and Qatar. At MashreqBank, Shahin led the sales, service, distribution and retail operations of both the Retail BankingGroup & Osool Finance Company (subsidiary of the Bank) and was responsible for a total staff of 845, operating 45 branches in the UAE and Qatar. Under Shahin, retail Banking profits grew by 52% in 2001 and 62% in 2002 with absolute revenue in excess of $ 80 million. Shahin previously worked for Pepsi Cola International in United Arab Emirates, most recently as a franchise director. At Pepsico, Shahin was assigned to an under-performing franchise. Under his leadership, share loss was halted and the franchise regained market leadership. Shahins franchise expanded production capacity by 45 percent to meet potential local market and export growth thanks in part to the introduction of an additional canning line.

Shahin received a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting finance from the Lebanese University, and a BAI graduate degree in retail banking from the University of Wisconsin’s Graduate School of Retail Banking.
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REUTERS: MARCH 10, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Renewing their call for greater involvement in the case of wrongfully imprisoned U.S. citizen Zach Shahin, attorneys for Shahin cite specific examples of American involvement in placing greater emphasis on foreign citizens' rights, while ignoring the wrongful detention of American citizens.

"While the interests of human rights and freedom of expression are conceded as an important facet of global concern, the greater interest of protecting Americans abroad should not be given a lesser importance in the scheme of American foreign policy," stated Eric J. Akers, attorney for Shahin.

To prove his contention, Akers points to three instances, which involve foreign dissidents, and one involving an American citizen held captive by a country with whom the U.S. seeks to appease.

"It is extraordinary that our government would 'strike a deal' with the Chinese government to bring the blind Chinese dissident Chen Guanqcheng to American soil, after giving him refuge in the American Embassy in Beijing. Yet, it took a hunger strike to finally have the American Embassy in the U.A.E. request bail for Zack Shahin in 2012," added Akers.

Recently, the press has been filled with reports of the release of ex-Ukraine Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko: "It is again surprising that the media reports on U.S. State Department comments regarding Tymoshenko's release, but where has the State Department commented on Zack's acquittal on one case, and his continued detention for six years without an upheld conviction?" asked Akers.

"It is also interesting that, in January of this year, the U.S. State Department joined Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch in condemning the detention of dissidents in Cuba to keep them away from a summit of hemispheric leaders meeting in Havana, when, again, no mention for the past two years have been made of Zack's case."

"Finally, Kenneth Bae is being held captive by a repressive government, only for the reason that he is not a 'political bargaining chip.' However, and again very important, his imprisonment is highlighted merely because the U.S. State Department is attempting to parley his captivity into a greater goal, which is stabilizing relations with a rogue government. What matters more than the life of Zack Shahin, an American citizen in a 'friendly' country is the non-interference by the U.S. with an unfriendly government. How sad our foreign policy has deteriorated to," added Akers

On Thursday, March 6, Akers renewed his request for assistance in addressing Shahin's situation in letters directed to both President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry. "On behalf of Zack and his family, I respectfully but urgently implore you to bring to bear the considerable power of your offices in securing Zack's release," wrote Akers

About Zack Shahin's Plight Since His March 2008 Arrest and Imprisonment:

On March 2, 2014, Zack Shahin declared a hunger strike to protest the U.S. government's unwillingness to intervene on his behalf and demand that Dubai authorities release him after six years in jail without an upheld conviction

March 23, 2014, will mark the six-year anniversary of Zack Shahin's arrest. Except for the brief period following his release on bail in July 2012 and return that September, he has remained imprisoned without an upheld conviction. In early 2013, Zack was acquitted on the first of four criminal cases against him, all of which stem from the same baseless accusations concerning his tenure as CEO of Deyaar, a Dubai-based real estate company. The prosecutor unsuccessfully appealed this decision and the not-guilty verdict was upheld. In March 2013, Zack and co-defendants were found guilty of embezzlement and received a 15-year sentence. Zack immediately appealed the conviction and the Dubai Court of Appeals overturned the court's decision.

Despite an appeals court overturning Shahin's guilty verdict and a cassation court upholding another not-guilty verdict, after four years of court appearances and continuances, and an obvious strategic maneuver by the Dubai government to deny U.S. citizen Zack Shahin his due process right to a trial, Washington continues to tread lightly.

2. Free Sergei Krivov, Russian Political Prisoner Who Has Suffered Heart Attacks After Hunger Strike Over Rights Violations

UPDATE: DECEMBER 11, 2013--According to the defense lawyer Viacheslav Makarov, there are reasons to believe that Sergey Krivov has suffered two heart attacks on November 27-28.

Krovov was on hunger strike for more than two months. He was protesting refusal by judge Nikishina to accept court motions from him and to provide protocols of the hearings. On November 22 Sergey Krivov decided to end his hunger strike. After that he was placed in the prison hospital for physical evaluation and first aid regarding getting out of hunger strike.

This was a form of acceptance by the bureaucrats, that Krivov in fact needed recuperation. Earlier, the judge refused on three occasions to let physicians to examine him, arguing that his health was satisfactory. The judge was referring to the document from the prison hospital, which was provided without any physical examination of the defendant on hunger strike. Multiple requests from defense attorneys to let paramedics in the court

UPDATE: November 22, 2013: Sergei Krivov has decided to end his hunger strike but remains in dangerously poor health.

Concern is mounting over Sergei Krivov, one of over 20 people charged with assaulting police during an opposition rally in Moscow last year. These charges are widely disputed and questioned for their political motivations.

Krivov has been on hunger strike now for 50 days to protest what he says are violations of his right to a fair trial in the so-called Bolotnaya case, named after the square where a sanctioned antigovernment protest on May 6, 2012, erupted in violent clashes with police.

Krivov, who at 52, is one of the oldest defendants in the case, appeared gaunt and frail at his last hearing on November 5.

According to his lawyer, Vyacheslav Makarov, he has been refusing food since September 19 and is having difficulty walking and even speaking.

Makarov says the drawn-out trial, which requires his client to attend hearings roughly three times a week at a Moscow court, is taking a heavy toll on his health:

"He spends a lot of time being brought to court. He sits in a relatively small cell during the trial," Makarov says. "The same procedure as when he is brought to the Mikulinsky court takes place on the way back and like the others, he returns to his pre-trial detention center only around midnight. There is almost no time to rest, he is woken up at 6 a.m. the next day. It's taxing even for someone who is in good health."

Makarov accuses authorities of failing to provide Krivov with all the transcripts of the hearings, crucial to his defense. Transcripts that are delivered can take up to six weeks to reach the defendant.

Makarov says he is also routinely denied the right to formulate requests in court.

He nonetheless hopes his client will be granted the right to lie down during the hearings to spare his strength.

'Healthy Enough'

Despite Krivov's frail condition, prison authorities have ruled that he is healthy enough to appear in court and, according to Makarov, are denying him suitable medical supervision.

"When a person is on a hunger strike for more than 40 days, you can already describe his health as weakened," Makarov says. "He needs to undergo a thorough medical examination, and not a superficial one based on whether or not he can stand on his feet without falling over."

The plight of Krivov – who cared for his two young children and his disabled mother before being jailed – has supporters and rights campaigners deeply worried.

Bobby Sands, the famous Irish Republican Army member who died in 1981 after a hunger strike in a British prison, succumbed after just 66 days without food.

Nadezhda Mityushkina, a member of the opposition Solidarity movement, first met Krivov when he joined the group in 2011.

She describes Krivov, who was mainly involved in distributing leaflets and flyers, as a quiet, hardworking man deeply committed to his values.

She says she fears for his life and laments the lack of support in Russia for the Bolotnaya defendants.

"I think we need to make as much noise as possible about Sergei and about political prisoners more generally, to fight for them with all the means at our disposal," Mityushkina says. "But unfortunately, many people in Russia believe that if a person is in prison there is a good reason for it. I would like to tell these people: take to the street, show your support, scream, [and] don't be silent!"

Symbol Of Ruthless Tactics

A total of 25 people are currently under investigation or charged in the Bolotnaya case, which has come to symbolize the ruthless tactics employed by the Kremlin to quash a wave of protests.

The first demonstrator to be tried, Maksim Luzyanin, was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison after cooperating with investigators and pleading guilty.

The second, Konstantin Lebedev, was given 2 1/2 years, also after pleading guilty.

All the other defendants deny wrongdoing.

Seventeen are currently in pretrial detention, three under house arrest, and one has fled the country.

Mikhail Kosenko, who suffers from a mild psychiatric disorder after sustaining a trauma during his military service, has been forcibly sent to a psychiatric clinic despite a police officer who was allegedly hurt by Kosenko testifying in his defense.

Born in 1961, Sergei Krivov is married and has two underage children and also his disabled mother in his charge. Prior to his arrest, he was a civic activist and a member of the RPR-Parnas.

3. REFORM UNIVERSITY OF TAMPA STUDENT RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES AND CREATE AN EFFECTIVE STUDENT BILL OF RIGHTS

As Concerned Alumni of the University of Tampa, as Students attending the University of Tampa (UT), and as Community Members, we agree to be bound by the terms and conditions as set forth in UT’s “Student Rights and Responsibilities,” (Student Code).

The UT Student Code consists of 25 Articles. No area of the Code provides for the basic protection of our individual due process rights as Students. In the event we are accused of violating the Code, we are not guaranteed the right to question our accuser(s), call and present relevant witnesses, have a decision determined by substantial evidence, or even the inference to be deemed “innocent" until proven “Responsible” by the University.

Without these basic protections, we are not guaranteed that a fair and reasonable process will result.

4. Free Iranian Human Rights Lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, Sentenced To 9 Years!

UPDATE DECEMBER 29, 2012

Less than three months after being ordered to begin serving his nine-year prison sentence in Evin Prison, prominent Iranian human rights lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah is reported to be suffering impaired memory and is also under renewed pressure to give his jailers a "confession."

The brother of founding member of the Defenders of Human Rights Center Mohammad Ali Dadkhah told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that the prominent human rights lawyer is showing signs of impaired memory at Evin Prison, and that he is under severe pressure to confess against himself and to accept charges leveled against him. Seyed Hossein Dadkhah expressed grave concern about his brother’s conditions and told the Campaign that Dadkhah’s family members do not know why nor how his memory loss has come about.

“He did not recognize his daughter during the in-person visitation and he was talking nonsense. It is very sad. I met Mohammad through a booth. I was surprised to observe that he constructed his sentences in haphazard ways. Mohammad has always had excellent speech, he would never make mistakes or talk haphazardly, he never paused in the middle of his talks. I don’t know what happened to him. He wasn’t the same last week,” Seyed Hossein Dadkhah told the Campaign.

“I don’t know what resulted in this. Maybe he can’t speak very frankly during booth visits. Whatever I asked him he answered, ‘It’s good.’ I asked, ‘Are they abusing you?’ He said, ‘No. Everything is good.’ I asked ‘Are you eating?’ He said, ‘Good.’ ‘Do you sleep well?’ He said, ‘Everything is good,’” Dadkhah’s brother told the Campaign.

Prominent Iranian lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah represented many political activists, such as Ebrahim Yazdi and Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, as well as Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. He was sentenced to nine years in prison and ten years’ ban on legal practice and teaching in July 2011. An appeals court upheld his sentence in full.

Prior to his imprisonment, Dadkhah was put under pressure to confess on television. During an interview with the Campaign in May 2012 he said hat security forces had asked him to state before a television camera that the Defenders of Human Rights Center received funds from foreigners in order to carry out their goals.

“They told him, ‘If you accept one of your charges, we will free you immediately.’ He told them, ‘Considering I have not done anything, why should I confess to having done it?’ He told them, ‘My activities were only related to human rights, and if you want I will confess to the same.’ They told him, ‘Then stay right here.’ We have kept our silence so far, because we didn’t want his conditions to get worse than this,” Dadkhah’s brother told the Campaign about the pressure on his brother in prison.

In September 2012, prior to his imprisonment, Mohammad Ali Dakhah told the Campaign, “They told me that if I didn’t confess, they would enforce my sentence. They talked to me for long periods of time and I did not accept it. I will say now that if one day I say things, they are not credible and I must have been under conditions where I was forced to say those things. I hope God maintains my power.”

Dadkah’s brother told the Campaign, “During his weekly visit with his daughter last week, he said that he has problems with his teeth, but told her not to request medical treatment for him.”

“I have gone everywhere. I have told hem that Mohammad does not deserve prison. His intelligence must be put to use outside the prison and for the country. About two months ago I requested that they allow him to leave prison daily and go to the Encyclopedia Office in order to complete his unfinished book on the “7 Seen” [traditions related to the Persian new year celebration of Nowruz]; [so that] he would go there for work every day and return to prison in the evening. They said that the Tehran Prosecutor would have to issue the permission, but so far there has been no word from the Prosecutor’s Office. I will go to follow up on this in a few days again,” his brother added.

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UPDATE: OCTOBER 1, 2012:

Prominent Iranian human rights lawyer, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, was transferred to Ward 350 of Evin Prison in order to begin serving his 9 year prison sentence.

According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Mohammad Ali Dadkhah was sentenced to nine years in prison, ten years' ban on legal practice, flogging, and cash fines by Branch 15 of Tehran Revolutionary Court in July 2011.

Dadkhah is a distinguished human rights lawyer who has represented many prisoners of conscience including the Nationalist-Religious activists, Abdolfattah Soltani, Gonabadi Dervishes, Amir Kabir University students, Zanjan University students Alireza Firouzi and Sourena Hashemi, and Youcef Nadarkhani, a Christian pastor formerly on death row.

Mohammad Ali Dadkhah also represented cases where people had filed suit against the government for building the Sivand Dam in Fars Province, and for giving construction permit for Jahan Nama Tower, a highrise in Isfahan.

Dadkhah was first arrested in 2002 during wide arrests of Iran Freedom Movement members. His last arrest was on July 8, 2009, when Security Police arrested him and several of his colleagues at his offices and sealed his legal practice.

Mohammad Ali Dadkhah was a member of Center for Human Rights Defenders. Most members of CHRD, including Mohammad Seifzadeh, Abdolfattah Soltani, and Nasrin Sotoudeh are in prison at this time and Narges Mohammadi was released recently on medical furlough.

http://www.en-hrana.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=631%3A1&catid=12%3Aprisoners&Itemid=12

July 4, 2011--Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, the spokesperson for the Human Rights Defenders’ Committee, stated that he has been sentenced to a 10 year ban on the practice of law, 8 years in prison for plotting a soft revolution, one year of imprisonment for anti-regime propaganda, lashes and a monetary fine.

According to the Human Rights House of Iran, Dadkhah is the spokesman and one of the founders of the Human Rights Defenders’ Committee.

Another prominent attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh has also received an 11 year prison sentence, a 20 year ban on exiting the country, and a 20 year ban on the practice of law.

The semi-official ISNA news agency reported Monday that Mohammad Ali Dadkhah has also been sentenced to pay the equivalent of $300 dollars for possessing a satellite TV receiver in his apartment. Dadkhah says he will appeal.

The lawyer represented activists and opposition supporters arrested after the disputed 2009 presidential elections.

Gonabadi Dervishes Hosseineyeh Ershad incident, the case of attorney Abdolfatah Soltani and the case of the Religious-Nationalist activists.

He also had a prominent role in the Savand dam case and the Jahan Nama towers in Naghshband square in Esfahan.

He also defended many of the university students cases, including the following:

1- The case of 3 students of Amir Kabir university, where, because of his continuous pursuit of the case while very close to obtaining acquittal for his clients, against the Iranian Judiciary laws and international laws he was barred from seeing his clients.

2- The case of three young men charged with insulting the Supreme Leader. This case lasted for five years and ended up in an acquittal of his clients.

3- The case of Zanjan University students, Sorna Hashemi and Alireza Firouzi, who were arrested after a sit-in protest at the university about an attempted rape of one of the female students by the then Deputy Chancellor of Zanjan university Dr. Hassan Maddadi.

4- The case of pastor Nadarkhani who was charged with apostasy.

On 8 July 2009, Mohamad Ali Dadkhah was arrested at his office along with his wife Maliheh Dadkhah, Sara Sabaghiyan, Bahareh Davlou and Amir Raeisian.

On 4 July 2011 he was sentenced to nine years in prison and barred from working as an attorney for 10 years. Speaking about his sentence then, Dadkhah stated, “I have been sentenced to a 10 year ban on the practice of law, eight years in prison for plotting a soft war for the purpose of overthrowing the regime and by being the spoke person for the Defenders of the Human Rights Center, and an additional one year in prison for propagating against the system and the Islamic Republic. I was also sentenced to flogging and a monetary fine.”

UPDATE May 3, 2012:
On April 28, 2012, Mr. Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, a human rights lawyer and founding member of the DHRC, was informed by Judge Salavati of Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolution Court, as the former was attempting to represent a political prisoner, that his nine-year imprisonment sentence and his 10-year ban on practising law and teaching had been upheld on appeal. In the past, he has defended many political and student activists and unionists as well as the Christian Pastor Mr. Yousef Nadarkhani, who has been sentenced to death on charge of apostasy.

According to the e-daily Roozonline, Mr. Dadkhah declared on May 1, 2012 that he has to report himself to prison on May 5 to serve his nine-year sentence. He added that “They have banned me from practising law for 10 years and also from teaching even in private institutes after my prison term. My sentence includes a cash fine of 25 million rials and lashing, which has also been substituted with a cash fine”. Besides, he declared that he rejected opportunities to leave Iran and said: “I will go to prison; I will not leave my land even if I die in prison”. Today, Mr. Dadkhah is at risk of imminent arrest.

Persian Article:

http://www.rahana.org/archives/42264

5. Protect Our Youth & Stop Unconstitutional Truancy in the Schools and Courts

The York City District Schools has been practicing a form of extortion by using the State to exhort money in the form of fines, from the African and Latino poor population in the community by using the threat of incarceration (which further exhorts resources from the community). The rules regarding truancy are so narrow that it almost guarantees a parent a fine or imprisonment and a child to be labeled ‘truant.’

York City District Schools are using this unconstitutional truancy policy as a means to criminalize the parents and using extortion against parents and children, rather than educating, our children. This criminalization of our parents and children encompasses the growing use of arrests, disciplinary alternative schools, and secured detention to marginalize our most at-risk youth and deny them access to education which is very punitive in nature. Truancy court hearings are in violation of the 5th and 14 Amendment of due process.

The York City District Schools, Children and Youth Services and the Magisterial District Courts are implementing an unfair, unjust, policy that is not being implemented correctly and that has been very vague from the very beginning. In addition to this unconstitutional truancy policy inflicted on the Africans and the Latino community, the communities are forced with parents issued summons and warrants incongruously and disciplinary alternative schools for students. Parents are required to dissipate hours proving that their children were in school or that doctors excuses were provided to the school and prove that the absences were inappropriately recorded. These are not isolated incidents; numerous parents have reported analogous experiences. These "mistakes" are unwarrantable.

This unconstitutional truancy policy is similar to zero-tolerance and it has been imposed on the poor African and Latino communities and it is punitive to parents and students without regard to individual circumstances. Even the American Bar Association has condemned zero-tolerance policies as inherently unjust: “zero tolerance has become a one-size-fits-all solution to all the problems that schools confront. It has redefined parents as negligent and irresponsible and students as criminals; with unfortunate consequences.

Unfortunately, most current [zero-tolerance] policies eliminate the common sense that comes with discretion and, at great cost to communities and to children and families, do little to improve school attendance.”

6. Federal Consent Decree against California

The State of California has recently violated the States Constitution by giving retroactive immunity to judges dating back twelve years.

Judges in California are State employees and what was happening is that various counties were giving judges extra pay. In Los Angeles County, they were giving over $40,000 extra a year.

As a result, cases have been tainted based upon this pay, especially when the County was a defendant in the case. In the years of 2005 through 2007, not one judge had ever ruled against the County and more than half ever seen the court room.