UNITED NATIONS
Commission on Human Rights
Fifty-second session
Agenda item 8

Statement of Humanitarian Law Project/
International Educational Development

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Detention

The Humanitarian Law Project/International Educational Development wishes to bring to the attention of the Commission the appalling violations of the rights of immigrants and refugees in the United States. While the recent torture of two Mexican nationals, Enrique Funes Flores and Santiago Garcia Pedroza, has received the public attention due to such behavior on the part of public authorities, the overall treatment of persons captured and held in detention remains little-publicized. Conditions include gross violations of the UN Standard Minimum Rules and other UN instruments and declarations. In California, the situation at the Mexican border has become one of near warfare. We join with a number of organizations in the area to urge the Working Group on Detention to visit the detention sites in California and to look into the over-all methods of capture and treatment of immigrants and refugees, including the serious and undefended accusations of racial discrimination.

We also bring to attention of the Commission the continued detention of Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt. Now before Superior Court for California in Los Angeles on a writ of habeas corpus, the case was so heavily tainted from the beginning as to represent a gross miscarriage of justice. Mr. Johnny Cochran, attorney for Mr. Pratt, has provided us with the full Petition presented on 2 January 1996. As Juror Jeanne Hamilton has publicly stated, if she knew the information kept from the jury, she "never would have convicted him. I feel duped." Mr. Cochran has provided extensive review about FBI spies in the defense camp. We urge the Commission to demand that the United States drop all charges against Mr. Pratt and release him immediately. In like manner, we urge the Commission to demand the instant release of Leonard Peltier, also convicted with severely tainted evidence and whose case also represents a gross miscarriage of justice. We mourn the death of William Kunstler, Mr. Peltier's attorney for many long years, but are confident that his new attorney, former United States Attorney General Ramsey Clark, will obtain full justice in this case.

We are saddened that we must bring to the attention of the Commission another death, Mr. Jalil Andrabi. Mr. Andrabi, one of our representatives at the 1995 session of the Sub-Commission, was also Chair of the Kashmir Commission of Jurists. On 8 March 1996 Mr. Andrabi was arrested by the Indian Rashtriya Rifles. His body was found on March 27, 1996 floating in the Jhelem River in Srinagar. We discuss this and other events in Kashmir in our briefing paper The Kashmiri War which we make available here. For instance, we discuss the short-term "preventative custody of Shabir Shar, another Kashmiri leader. We also condemn the group "Al Faran", who killed a Norwegian hostage last Summer and who currently hold 4 other hostages. We present our view based on our own investigations and information from extremely reliable sources in India that "Al Faran", like the earlier group "Al Hadid" may have been formed by India as part of counterinsurgency strategies to discredit the Kashmiri people and their cause. The All-Parties Hurriyet Conference and other verifiable Kashmiri groups all condemn "Al Faran." We are also aware of plans to abduct and assassinate Syed Shah Geelani, another Hurriyet leader.