(PHOENIX, AZ, 2/23/2016) – The Arizona chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-AZ) today announced the filing of aÂ petitionÂ for writ of habeas corpus in Federal Court, seeking the release of aÂ PalestinianÂ asylum seekerÂ who hasÂ beenÂ detainedÂ indefinitelyÂ by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
[NOTE: A writ of habeas corpus (literally to “produce the body”) is a court order to a person or agency holding someone in custody to deliver that individual to the court issuing the order.]
The petition was filed on behalf of one of two men, HishamÂ Ghalia and Mounis Hammouda, both Palestinian nationals, who arrived in the United States inÂ November 2014 to seek asylum from war-torn Gaza. Both men left Gaza for a United Nations refugee camp in Cyprus before traveling to Venezuela. From Venezuela, the two men traveled thousands of miles through numerous Central American nations before finally arriving at the Nogales port of entry. Both men have been detained at ICEâ€™s Florence Detention Center since arriving in the United States.
The petition, filed at the United States Federal Court, District of Arizona on behalf of HishamÂ Ghalia, marks the first step in seeking the release from indefinite detention.
WhileÂ Hammouda'sÂ asylum claim is still pending,Â GhaliaÂ is ready to go back to Gaza after his asylum claim was denied. However, Ghaliaâ€™s removal has been delayed for more than six months due to the lack of a diplomatic relationship between the United States and the Palestinian Authority â€“ the source of Ghaliaâ€™s travel documents.Â
â€œThe Government has essentially detained Mr. Ghalia indefinitely due to political issues beyond his control,â€ said CAIR-AZ Civil Rights Director Liban Yousuf. â€œIt is unconstitutional to force Mr. Ghalia to remain in detentionÂ indefinitely,Â while it has been determined that he poses no threat to the community.”
The Law Offices of Zayed Al-Sayyed PLLC., is lead counsel on the case. The petition seeks supervised release of Mr. Ghalia until he can be removed back to Gaza.
Read the entire petition:
CAIR is Americaâ€™s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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