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Rt Hon Jack Straw MP
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London SW1A 2AH,
Fax: +44 20 7839 2417
Dear Mr. Straw,
RE: Detention of Sheikh Omer Abdel Rahman in the USA
I am writing regarding the continued detention and imprisonment of Sheikh Omer Abdel Rahman in the USA without a fair and unbiased trial.
Sheikh Omer Abdel Rahman was convicted in 1995 under five counts including seditious conspiracy against the US government and solicitation to murder President Hosni Mubarak. According to his attorney, former US attorney general Ramsay Clark, the entire trial was based on fear and prejudice and several violations during the trial were well documented, although never further investigated. With regards to Hosni Mubarak, the Sheikh openly criticized his regime for extensive human rights violations and detention of political prisoners without trial. Many individuals have made the same comments but are not persecuted in the same manner as Sheikh Omer Abdel Rahman has been.
I am also concerned that several questions which were raised at the trial remain unanswered; namely the biased nature of the judge chosen to preside over the trial; the same judge disallowed Sheikh Omer Abdel Rahman’s initial choice of attorney to represent him and disallowed experts on Islam to testify on the meanings of several Islamic words. Doubts were also raised over the FBI procedures used during the investigation of Sheikh Omer Abdel Rahman.
The Sheikh has been blind for most of his life, is diabetic, and suffers from various ailments. He has been previously tortured in Egypt and is now suffering inhumane conditions in the US, where ironically he sought asylum being after persecuted in Egypt. He has been subject to degrading treatment such as internal examinations and been denied his religious rights. I strongly urge you to see that all Sheikh Omer Abdel Rahman’s rights are restored and further violations do not take place against him.
I am also concerned that the present whereabouts of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman are unknown. This is a completely unsatisfactory state of affairs as those who wish to support Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman in his suffering, as I do, are not able to do so in a direct minimally restricted manner.
I urge you to make representations on behalf of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman. Your department has committed itself to promoting human rights and in the circumstances this has been a velar travesty of justice, where the Sheikh’s human rights have been abused.