America’s Only “Specially Designated Terrorist” Wants His Life Back
As citizens of a free society, Americans are apt to wonder what it is like to live in an unfree country, where the government has the power to designate a citizen as an enemy of the state, taking away many basic rights indefinitely without a hearing and with no ability to protest or appeal the decision. Such Americans could ask Muhammad Salah about it, because that is exactly what his government has done, but rather than being a citizen of Iran or Syria, Salah is an American citizen who has been treated thus by the U.S. government.
Salah was named a “specially designated terrorist” under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and Executive Order 12947, the latter signed by President Bill Clinton in 1995, which declared a national emergency and targeted groups and persons thought to be trying to “disrupt the Middle East peace process.”
At that time, Salah was in an Israeli military prison, facing military charges of providing support to Hamas in the early 1990s. During that period, no law barred Americans from supporting Hamas. After 55 days of interrogation, including sleep deprivation and torture, Salah pled guilty and signed a plea deal. Israel released him in 1997 and he returned home to the U.S., where the government charged him with terrorism and conspiracy. A Chicago jury found him not guilty in 2007, but the government has refused to lift the designation or the restrictions.
Last week, seventeen years after his initial incarceration, Salah filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of his designation as a “specially designated terrorist” and the suffocating restrictions that have been imposed with it. Filed by a legal team from the Center for Constitutional Rights, the People’s Law Office and a private firm, the suit argues that the designation violates Salah’s fundamental rights.
In a press release, CCR pointed out that the restrictions “bar virtually all economic transactions, even those necessary for survival, [as] Muhammad Salah is not permitted to get a job, pay rent or a mortgage, pay for his children’s education, obtain medical care or even buy a loaf of bread without first obtaining approval from the Treasury Department.” Salah, who currently suffers from cancer, is believed to be the only U.S. citizen classified as a terrorist who resides in the U.S., although government secrecy casts doubt even on that simple matter.
To Learn More:
US Sued over “Terrorist” Designation that has Robbed Palestinian American of Basic Rights for 17 Years (by Maureen Clare Murphy, Electronic Intifada)
USA Makes Muslim Citizen Hero of His Own Kafka Novel (by Jack Bouboushian, Courthouse News Service)
Salah v. U.S. Department of Treasury (2012) (pdf)
Secrets and Lies: The Persecution of Muhammad Salah (by Michael E. Deutsch and Erica Thompson, Journal of Palestine Studies)
- Top Stories
- Unusual News
- Where is the Money Going?
- U.S. and the World
- Appointments and Resignations
- Latest News
- Former Employees Say Bank of America Regularly Lied to Homeowners Seeking Loan Modifications
- 2 Fatal Chemical Plant Explosions in 2 Days in Louisiana
- Growth of Factory Farming Leading to Uncontrolled Problems of Animal Waste
- Federal Government Accused of Adding an Average of One New Crime a Week
- Christian Pastor Given Go-Ahead to Sue Oklahoma over Native American License Plate Design